Forget Me Not by Alexandra Olivia is a Sci Fi thriller. In Forget Me Not we ask, “What if your past wasn’t what you thought?”
As a child, Linda Russell was left to raise herself in a 20-acre walled-off property in rural Washington. The woods were her home, and for twelve years she lived oblivious to a stark and terrible truth: Her mother had birthed her only to replace another daughter who died in a tragic accident years before.
And then one day Linda witnesses something she wasn’t meant to see. Terrified and alone, she climbs the wall and abandons her home, but her escape becomes a different kind of trap when she is thrust into the modern world—a world for which she is not only entirely unprepared, but which is unprepared to accept her.
And you couldn’t see a future for yourself?
Years later, Linda is living in Seattle and immersed in technology intended to connect, but she has never felt more alone. Social media continually brings her past back to haunt her, and she is hounded by the society she is now forced to inhabit. But when Linda meets a fascinating new neighbor who introduces her to the potential and escapism of virtual reality, she begins to allow herself to hope for more.
What would it take to reclaim your life?
Then an unexplained fire at her infamous childhood home prompts Linda to return to the property for the first time since she was a girl, unleashing a chain of events that will not only endanger her life but challenge her understanding of family, memory, and the world itself.
“She was loved once.”
Forget Me Not was a really cool thriller. We immediately are not sure if Linda can be trusted as a narrator or source of information based on her history. This was not a slow realization for us readers, it’s insinuated from the get-go. It’s clear that Linda never really is transitioned well into society, but she doesn’t really want to be either. The way that technology has also evolved from our current time to the time in this story was unique. It’s easy to see how, after Covid-19 (which gets an honorable mention in the book), the need to make sure misinformation is not shared would be something tech companies would focus on. We also have replaced Facebook with a different social network, which appears to be caused by that direct occurrence.
Because this story is built around a world we already know, just slightly in the future, we did not need a ton of world building. The information we did receive was understandable and created an easily imagined technology. The mentions of cloning threw me off at first, until I realized that was not actually what had happened with Linda. Her mother just tried to recreate her using IVF technology that already exists.
Linda is a feral creature who is just trying to exist in a world that doesn’t seem to want her. Her realizing she could exist in VR without having to force interactions with others to satisfy her not-father was something I think many introverts can relate to. Sometimes video game social interactions are just considerably easier than the day to day ones that we cannot predict. Her friend and neighbor really seemed to help her without any expectations from her, and those of us with trauma and anxiety can really connect with how nice this can feel.
I did find the summary not quite the way the events unfolded in the book, which is sometimes frustrating for me. Additionally, the pacing of this book felt strange. There were moments the book was incredibly fast-paced, and other times it was slow going, with Linda recalling facts and interactions that didn’t always feel relevant to the story at hand.
Thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.