November 18, 2012

Christopher Pike: "Remember Me"

Title: Remember Me [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Remember Me (1st of 3 books)
Author: Christopher Pike [Facebook | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife, Supernatural, Thriller/Mystery 
Year: 1989
Age: 12+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Likeable lead. Interesting set of characters. Emotions ring true. Story sucks you in.
Cons: Not the glamorous, imaginative afterlife you find in nowadays novels, since lead still walks the Earth. Very little action (if you prefer a faster pace).
WARNING! Moderate sex references (if they upset you at all).
Will appeal to: Everyone who doesn't care for very fast-paced books or romance-centered ones.

Blurb: When Shari Cooper awoke at home after being at her girlfriend's birthday party, her family acted like she wasn't there. Then the call came from the hospital. Shari didn't know what was wrong. Not until she followed them to the hospital. There she found herself lying on a cold slab in the morgue. The police said that it was suicide. Shari knew she had been murdered. Making a vow to herself to find her killer, Shari embarks on the strangest of all criminal investigations: one in which she spies on her friends, and even enters their dreams - where she comes face-to-face with a nightmare from beyond the grave. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: My first review had to be about the book that introduced me again to YA Lit in my adult age...
First off, I mean to remind you that RM came out long before "dead girl books" became all the rage. Shari's story may sound simpler and less glamorous than the most recent ones about girls in the same predicament as hers. There's no fancy afterlife scenery - you could say there's no real afterlife scenery at all. Like most dead girls in YA Lit, Shari was beautiful, popular and rich in life - but the narration doesn't really dwell upon that. She doesn't come across like a spoiled little brat with a lesson to learn...on the contrary, she's a lively, likeable, lifelike character (OK, I didn't plan on describe her with an allitteration and a bunch of parent words, but it sounds clever on my part, doesn't it? LOL just kidding). She has a truth to unveil though: how she ended up dead. She feels compelled to know, despite her fellow ghost-friend Peter's efforts to steer her toward the Light. Can you blame her?
Pondering about it, the real magic of this book is not in the story itself. The final denouement may surprise you (it did surprise me, though it's not that unpredictable. I probably let the book suck me in to the point where I couldn't see the killer's imprints anymore!), but it's not like Pike came out with a highly original scenario. It's simply a new twist of one of the oldest themes in literature. So, you know, the real magic in the book comes out of Shari. You gotta love her. You follow her and see the world through her eyes, like you were in her shoes. You care for her, dead or alive. You love her brother Jim through her. And so on.
[...]

There are a few characters' dreams in his book - dreams that Shari enters. Pike definitely has a thing for dreams. These ones are much less weird than his average stuff, anyway. And there's one thing that I have to warn you about: a couple of characters (who don't know they're related at first) come near to have an incestuous relationship. This is a necessary step in the story, because Shari's death has a lot to do with it, to put it mildly. Anyway, the thing is mainly hinted at, and doesn't really go anywhere, as far as graphic details are concerned. The way it was handled, I wasn't shocked at all.
Unlike its two sequels (yes, there are two - I'll blog about them next), this book is a real YA classic. It's sad in parts of course, but it's mainly sweet and funny. If you like afterlife/ghosts stories and mysteries, you don't want to miss it.


For my review of "Remember Me 2: The Return" (second installment in the series) click here.
For my review of "Remember Me 3: The Last Story" (third installment in the series) click here.
For more books by Christopher Pike click here.
Liked this book? You might also be interested in Katie Williams: "Absent".

Original Remember Me cover
Cover of the Remember Me trilogy
published 2010




 
The cover on the left features Shari with her trademark green pants from the original version - Pike turned them into blue jeans for the 2010 reprint. Fashion update LOL.







8 comments:

  1. This is the first time I came across this book! I love that it introduced you to YA, it sounds great. Adding to my to-read list :-)

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

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    Replies
    1. You might have to buy the whole trilogy (see here), unless you find an old copy of the standalone. And the following chapters are not equally great IMHO. But this one sure makes up for that :). Also, the trilogy is rather cheap...so no bankruptcy LOL.

      Sorry for replying late - Blogger put this comment in my spam list O_o. Not so clever, since real spam leaks into my Avaiting Moderation Comments section often...I guess it couldn't believe I was getting 5 comments in a day ;D.

      Delete
  2. I still own this book from when i was a teen but i've never read the whole series. Would you recommend them?

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    Replies
    1. Personally, I can't stand the thought of not finishing a series...so I'd say, go for it...though it's probably safer not to expect much from the two sequels. To me, they don't match the heartfeltness and brilliance of the first chapter. But if you can digest a certain amount of new age talk, and bear with some warps of the original Shari character, they're still a decent read.

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  3. I have started "The Last Vampire" series, or "Thirst" as they call it nowadays. Personally I want to finish the series, before starting another one. But I am reading the second volume and seeing how fast I am progressing with these books, I have a feeling I will finish "The Last Vampire Series" for a month (yes, I am that cool, haha) What book do you suggest after this? I can't decide between "Remember Me" and "Whisper of Death". Since you made me so addicted to his works lady, you got to help me. What do you suggest?

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    Replies
    1. "Whisper" does smell of awesome, but I haven't had the chance to read it to date - I hope it will be rereleased one day! On the other hand, "Remember Me" was my very first Pike book (and my very first review, as you may have noticed) and it made me fall in love with the man. While the 2nd and 3rd installment were written for money (and it shows), the original novel it's a must-read. Only keep in mind that "WOD" is much more gory and darker than "RM". Maybe you will like it better ;).
      I also recommend his adult novels "The Blind Mirror" (wohoo, scary!) and "Season of Passage". The latter is basically a mix of horror and sci-fi, and I don't know if you like the second...but mostly it's sci-fi because it deals with a mission on Mars...where terrifying things happen - and then spread down on Earth...(I'm sure I have your attention now LOL). Don't miss these two!

      Delete
    2. Did you just say "horror"? I just wanted a suggestion Roberta, a book, just one. Now you injected in my blood other books. I guess I'll read "Remember Me" first, since it made such a huge impact on you, then I'll continue with the scary ones. Also I noticed his books sometimes are somehow weird, which is a good thing for me, since I love unique ideas
      By the way, I reviewed "The Last Vampire Volume 1" for an English report (We had to read a book and review it in English) My teacher remained shocked. She said I have a weird book preference, and then she asked me where do I find these books. Oh, well...Roberta’s blog!

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    3. *laughs out loud by herself*
      I'm beginning to think your teacher is a bit old-school...pardon my pun! ;P

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