Published November 20th 2011
Source: Kindle Freebie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads Summary: Two climbed up. Two fell down.
One woke up.
Robin Saunders is a high school sophomore with an awesome best friend, a hard-working single mom, and a complicated relationship with a sweet guy named Reno. She's coasting along, trying to get through yet another tedious year of high school, when Em suggests something daring. They live in Florida-- tourist central--and Emily wants to sneak into a theme park after midnight and see what they're made of.
When things get out of control, Robin wakes up in a hospital bed and Emily doesn't wake up at all. Just getting dressed becomes an ordeal as Robin tries to heal and piece together the details of that terrible night. Racing to remember everything in the hopes of saving Emily, Robin writes a series of notes to herself to discover the truth.
To start with, this was a very enjoyable and emotional book. The story grows and characters expand before your eyes as we follow Robin on her journey to discover what happened on that fatal night when she and Emily fell in the amusement park. Why were they there on a stormy night? What is it so important that Em said and Robin can't remember? Why doesn't Emily wake up from coma? All these questions kept me interested in the story, but before I got all the answers, I was rewarded with more than I expected.
Robin is a great character. Confused, frustrated and afraid, but realistic and sympathetic. I could completely empathize with her. Her fear and confusion are palpable to the point of being heartbreaking. Every time she said "I fell", I wanted to hug her tightly.
Robin experiences major guilt for being the one who woke up, while Emily wasn't that lucky. She is under pressure from her peers who don't treat her kindly (it's bordering on bullying). Everyone wants answers that Robin doesn't have. All she knows is that she fell. Robin tries to piece herself together, and as she remembers details from her life, she writes them down. We are not simply told that Robin needs a cheat sheet just to get a shower; her memory loss is woven into the story with numerous other details. It's not all that grim, though; Robin adds a dose of humor to the story as well. Truly a character that you can laugh and cry with.
I enjoyed the writing as well, everything flows smoothly and the pacing was excellent-no rushing, no dragging. Avery Sawyer is never overdoing things but keeps a nice rate in everything-the drama, the characterization, the plot, and not to forget-the romance.
Notes to Self is a wonderful contemporary YA novel, and Avery Sawyer is a very talented writer who tackles difficult issues with honesty, respect and a lot of heart.