"Love Story" by Taylor Swift is one of my favorite songs/music videos. Actually I'm rather fond anything Swift puts out, so it wasn't hard for me to decide to want to check this book out. Since I'm also a sucker for reincarnated love stories it wasn't a hardship for me to then want to read this either. I tried not to let either bias me when reading however.
In many ways REMEMBRANCE will engage and captivate a reader plus there's a lot to recommend in that Madow doesn't make Drew mysterious or interesting by making him kind of wicked or slightly bad, nor does she make Lizzie into a milquetoast who needs to grow up. I think any girl who reads this would be able to relate to Lizzie's predicament. With a boyfriend who seems to be growing distant with every minute that goes by and a new guy who she feels a connection to, it's understandable why Lizzie would feel at a loss. Even without the past life flashes high school dating politics are difficult to navigate quite frankly.
I think where some of the disconnect for me began was with Lizzie's best friend Chelsea. It's not that I begrudge Chelsea her feelings of jealousy or resentment with Lizzie when it looks like Drew (who begins dating Chelsea) is paying more attention to Lizzie then herself. Or that I wouldn't react the same way when told the guy I was emotionally involved with really only dated me because of my best friend. It's more that I never got the impression Chelsea and Lizzie were such good friends to begin with.
It seemed that almost from the first pages Chelsea had something to say about Lizzie. Whether it was her clothing, or her musings about Jeremy (Lizzie's boyfriend) growing so distant or her family, Chelsea didn't seem to have the time for it. And then she quickly started going off the reservation when it came to even the most innocent of moments between Lizzie and Drew. Did she not want them to get along? Was she that insecure? Though to be fair Lizzie spent a good chunk of time resenting Chelsea for having Drew as a boyfriend (as if it's her fault?).
Some of it seemed to be explained away by 'All this happened before' reincarnated history repeats itself talk. Old feelings and impressions pass from one life to the next, old feuds and animosities pass from one life to the next (which isn't quite how reincarnation works) that sort of thing. And I'm not quite sure I agree with the notion that in order to have her great love (Drew), Lizzie had to lose Chelsea as a friend (which is kind of how it sounded).
The uncertainty and frustration of dating in high school was part of why I enjoyed this book however. Madow paced the book well and didn't make anyone into a victim (well other than of fate). Jeremy, who was a jerk at first, and Lizzie's relationship is given a good amount of history so we can see that they just weren't meant for each other, but kept trying because they felt obligated to. And even if Drew and Lizzie were 'fated' to be together, neither was enthused about it at first. Drew is kind of like 'let me live how I want to live' and Lizzie is dead certain she should make things work with Jeremy.
I did find the ending obstacle a bit meh. I almost wish that it had come earlier and instead of reacting the way she did it drove Lizzie a little crazy. Her sudden arbitrary refusal to distinguish the past from the present was forced feeling.
"It was at the Halloween dance that I got the first glimpse of my past life."
Inspired by Taylor Swift's "Love Story" music video ...
New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet.
Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she seem to get him out of her mind?
Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn't going to be easy.