Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Caragh Reviews // When I Was Me by Hilary Freeman

Published - 3rd September 2015
Publisher - Hot Key Books
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - One girl, two lives. Which is real? When Ella wakes up one Monday morning, she discovers that she is not herself and that her life is not her own. She looks different, her friends are no longer her friends and her existence has been erased from the internet. Even worse, years of her history appear to have been rewritten overnight. And yet, nobody else thinks that anything weird has happened. A tense and dark psychological thriller full of unexpected twists and turns about the random events and decisions that make us who we are. If you can't trust your own memories, then who can you trust?

Shout out to Holly @ The Art Shelf for being the most incredibly and loveliest person and VERY kindly letting me read her copy of When I Was Me that she got from YALC in July - before she'd even read it herself! 

The blurb for this book kind of took my breath away a little bit. On average, I read around 60/70 books a year so i'm sure you can appreciate that finding a book with a subject matter that i've not already seen elsewhere is incredibly rare - but Hilary Freeman managed it! At first it seems as though something very sci-fi is going on and is actually quite chilling. As the book progresses, I found myself getting really anxious and actually had to put it down for 5 minutes whilst I calmed down!

It was quite surprising to me to feel like that, especially as it's not a particularly fast paced book. There's not a great deal of 'plot' going on - which considering the subject matter seems quite strange! A lot of the book focuses on Ella trying to discover who she is, not even because she seems to be in some kind of different world, but in general as a seventeen year old girl. It was actually quite a tense reading experience and raises a lot of psychological questions for the reader.

The blurb mentions something along the lines of 'twists and turns' which I didn't particularly find to be the case until very near to the end. It was an excellent read though and I got through it very quickly because I couldn't wait to find out the answers to the mystery! I'm still not sure how I feel about the ending but that's okay. It worked for me! 
The only thing that I really wasn't sure about was Ella and her friends' attitude towards boys and their opinions! For example, whilst talking together about Dom, the girls make a comments that really kind of left my mouth open afterwards. "Boys are never that keen unless they're into you" - this was in response to the girls talking about Dom being attentive, friendly and perceptive towards one of Ella's friends and their surprise that this didn't mean he was romantically attracted to her. I'm probably thinking on it a little too much but it seemed to me like Freeman could have taken this opportunity to be positive about the friendships between boys and girls rather than turn it into questioning the motives of boys.

I'd definitely recommend this book though and as is always the case with Hot Key Books - the cover is absolutely gorgeous! :)

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