Don't You Forget About Me
By Kate Karyus Quinn
Published 2014 by HarperTeen
Living in Gardnerville is a double-edged sword: no one ever gets sick, but every fourth year, madness sweeps the young people - and usually the body count is high. It's a fourth year, and Skylar is desperate to be reunited with her sister, Piper, who disappeared four years ago. It's not as simple as she hopes, though, because there's something very important Skylar has forgotten. And it might just be the secret to changing Garnderville forever.
I had really wanted to read Quinn's debut Another Little Piece but hadn't yet found time when I saw her new title pop up on Edelweiss. It sounded weird and creepy, so I figured I'd give it a shot.
I think I was expecting more straight horror than I got. If The Waking Dark is YA's Stephen King, then I'd say Don't You Forget About Me is YA's Dean Koontz. Fair or not, I've always considered Dean Koontz to be the stranger, more paranormal brand of horror than Stephen King. This might be entirely dependent on which books by the two men I've read, and I certainly know that King does his share of paranormal horror as well. I expected horror and, while much of the action in this book is indeed horrifying, it's more strange and supernatural than I had set out for. That doesn't make this a bad book, just not quite what I had wanted. The story is compelling and I'm glad Quinn chose to tell it the way she did - alternating between the present and flashbacks throughout Sky's life. This slowly reveals pieces of the Gardnerville puzzle and, though I figured out the big twist rather early on, it's great for keeping readers engaged.
I did not particularly care for any of the characters here, but with this book that almost feels okay. This book is more about the strange happenings and the things people will do to preserve the life they believe they deserve. It's a complex little world that Quinn has created, only getting more complex as the book goes on, but I think it's an interesting one. Certainly not one I'd choose to live in, but a very unique world regardless. I'm not crazy about the ending either, as it felt a bit anticlimactic to me.
Overall, just not really the book I hoped. Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.