I was contacted to review Avery Sawyer’s YA novel Notes To Self and I am quite thankful I was asked. It is a work of fiction that tells a common coming of age story of a young girl but with an original layout. Robin Saunders the lead character takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery that summon new mental challenges and past characteristics of who Robin was before her accident.
Robin wakes up in a hospital realizing that her and her best friend Emily have suffered a terrible fall after climbing up an amusement park ride. Only Emily is still in a coma while Robin suffers from a brainy injury that disables much of her memory of that dreadful night. Robin must endure the whispers at school; the questions from the hospital and the guilt she takes from the accident and try to remember the one important thing that occurred that fateful night in hopes that it is the key to helping her friend awake from her coma.
Author Avery Sawyer was able to develop Robin as a character who I never felt sorry for. Instead I was able to be involved with her struggle to live with her unexpected brain injury. Sawyer was able to write enough detailed inner thought that I was able to get why Robin suffered day to day. The first time she has to take a shower and doesn’t remember the steps involved was when I really had an idea of how bad her injury was. She is able to remember people but sometimes struggles with day-to-day tasks and simple memories like which is her favorite starburst flavor or which locker is hers. Robin has to deal with the person she is now and learn from her discovered past mistakes. She also has to live without her best friend Emily who she may have relied on a bit too much in the past and has to learn who she is now as a person. Robin gives us a glimpse of how people may rely on our friends and struggle with a personal separate identity that makes us unique.
Reno is Robins other friend who I only wish there were more of in the book. When he enters a scene in the book I always held my breath a bit because I knew he had to hold a major key of helping Robin discover something big. Reno brought a sense of mystery as a reader and a blanket of comfort for Robin. He seemed like someone you would meet anywhere and would want to keep as a close friend. He was genuinely written with a strong shoulder complete with nerdy tendencies.
Do not get the wrong idea of Notes To Self. This is not a depressing deep walk through teenage angst. Whether it’s about Robin’s identity, Reno’s identity, family secrets, finding the secret that can save a best friend or seeing the woman who your mom actually is, it’s all about discovery. It’s lifting the vale of the way you saw things before to see that they are way better then you ever realized. This path is heart warming, dramatic and sometimes funny because of the characters that Avery Sawyer has included on Robin’s journey. I am not usually drawn to this type of YA fiction but I am glad that I got the privilege to read it only because I may be willing to take more chances on titles such as Notes To Self.