Posted in Books, Uncategorized

Chasing Before

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I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

We’ve seen memes or bumper stickers of this…and of course, for those with insomnia it’s one of limited options. It’s also the opening line of Level 2 now known as The Memory of After, the first book of The Memory Chronicles by Lenore Appelhans @lenoreva (Simon and Schuster). And a chilling thought.

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Appelhans’ unusual and complex vision of the afterlife hooked me and I wanted to know more.

The Memory of After and the second in the series, Chasing Before (not out until August 26 2014, I was lucky enough to get an ARC/Advance Reader’s Copy) examines life and what comes next.

 I guess I tend to live for the here and now, but this got me thinking about Heaven or Hell or any kind of afterlife.

What if Heaven is a lot like Earth? What if relationships and friendships are just as astonishing yet complicated? What if you have to go to school and choose a career to have a fulfilling afterlife?
What if there are still good guys and bad guys and what if you still can’t always tell which is which?

Dealing with memories, it’s understandable Chasing Before has a tendency toward the sentimental, but thankfully it never went to preachy.

Without going into spoilers this is from the viewpoint of Felicia Ward who, in life, was a lovely, bright, and musically gifted youth.  She had family, friends, a boyfriend she had met through church, and a promising future. Felicia seemed to have it all, except for the dying young part.

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Lenore Appelhans has based this YA series on memories, which at first seems odd given that her intended audience is so young and I wondered, are memories even important at that age? Then I realized memories are extremely important to young people because they can’t imagine getting old and they can’t imagine how many memories they will accumulate by then.

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As I read more of Chasing Before (due out August 2014) I started thinking, Appelhans isn’t just showing us the importance of memories, but the power of memories, the pull they have on us. I suppose you could go further and wonder if we live too much in the past? Are we addicted to memories, as they are in these books? Do memories, both good and bad have too much control of our lives?
Is that why we’re so terrified of illnesses like Alzheimer’s?
Are we just a sum of our memories?
I hope we’re more of a continuum; making new memories to replace or be companions to our other memories.

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As I read I found myself casting who would play whom in the movie, if they make one (please make one!). Jamie Campbell Bower would make a fantastic Julian except being typecast as an angel-type guy. Or Max Irons?

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For Felicia, perhaps Emily Browning or Emilia Clarke (with her natural hair colour). Max Thieriot or Matthew Atkinson for Neil. When I’m reading books and thinking of casting that means I really like it.
I wanted to know more about the characters and what would come next for them, I guess I’ll have to wait until the 3rd book; there’s going to be a 3rd book, right?

So wonderful to see all these terrific YA novels, it raise your spirits to know that young people are reading. Definitely recommend this for anyone 12 or up. Check out more at: TEEN.SimonandSchuster.com

And remember, those who touch our hearts stay in them forever.

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