The Memory Eater

Razorbill/Penguin/. Mar. 2023. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593524602.
Gr 7 Up–For 200 years, the Memory Eater has been confined to a cave in Whistler Beach, ME, feeding on the unhappy memories of people willing to forget. Seventeen-year-old Alana Harlow has been a guide to clients surrendering memories since she was a child, but with the recent death of her grandmother, she has now inherited the family business—a business on which the tourist town has come to depend. Despite the heavy burden she now carries, Alana strives to follow the family rules and cooperate with the town council, but when the Memory Eater escapes, the gaps in Alana’s memory may signal a problem more serious than a hungry monster on the loose. Readers follow Alana, who is described as having black hair and blue-gray eyes, as she recognizes her own grief, attempts to atone for her mistakes, and accepts her irrevocably broken relationships. The heaviness of Alana’s personal journey is balanced by the comfort she finds in unwavering support from her found family and the nervous thrill of a slow-burn, second-chance romance. The work’s message is clear, but not forceful; central themes are thoughtfully outlined in striking prose, a steady pace keeps readers engaged, and the work overall is further enhanced by the diverse characters woven throughout.
VERDICT A must-read study of memory and emotion, filled with complex characters in an eerie setting.

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