I actually really enjoyed sharing my little review of Love and Leftovers and even though it’s taken forever, here I am with another one! I’m going to be really picky about the books I review on Writing Whimsy, because I’m really only looking to share recommendations, most likely only of novels in verse, but I thought it would be fun to let you know about another one, Forget Me Not by Carolee Dean.
The vast majority of the novels in verse that I’ve read or am familiar with are contemporary, so I always get excited to see a writer outside of that genre with a verse novel. One really good example is the MG historical fiction story, May B. by Caroline Starr Rose. While Forget Me Not does have a contemporary setting, it has a paranormal aspect to it that is unusual for verse, though if you’re looking for another one, I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder does also deal with ghosts.
Forget Me Not is a paranormal mystery told in verse, in which Ally has to deal with what happens after a half-naked photo of her is texted around school. Her life and reputation in shambles, she hides out in a hallway, trying to understand what went wrong. But she’s not the only one in the hallway. Elijah is there too, and he got there by taking a bottle of sleeping pills, so he knows the truth. He’s alive but he can see ghosts, and he knows that Ally is half dead, so close to never waking up. Elijah loves her, but the only person who can save Ally is herself, but first she has to decide it’s worth it.
Dean tackles important issues like cyber-bullying in her novel, Forget Me Not, while still keeping the reader turning the page to find out what happened to Ally and what choice she will make. Ally and Elijah alternate POVs and in between verse passages some of the story is told in script, which was an interesting technique and a good way to deal with the hallway scenes that required a lot of characters and dialogue, though I definitely preferred the verse.
Even though Forget Me Not has a paranormal twist, it is the kind of twist that happens in Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, which means it still reads like a contemporary, though it would be good for crossover fans as well. The characters are people first, and ghost seconds, and that gives them an emotional depth I really appreciated. It’s a heartbreaking story and the sparseness of the words on the page through the verse format really helps show the bleakness of Ally’s mindset and situation.
Ultimately, Forget Me Not is an emotional story with mystery and Dean’s lovely writing to keep you turning the pages. Although she usually writes in prose, I certainly hope that Carolee Dean will publish another novel in verse in the future. In the meantime, this one is definitely worth picking up.