Our November pick is Loud Awake and Lost by Adele Griffin. This week it’s my turn to host our Round Table Discussion.
LOUD. There was an accident. Ember knows at least that much. She was driving. The car was totaled. She suffered back injuries and brain trauma. But she is alive. That’s the only thing left she can cling to.
AWAKE. Eight months later, Ember feels broken. The pieces of her former self no longer fit together. She can’t even remember the six weeks of her life leading up to the accident. Where was she going? Who was she with? And what happened during those six weeks that her friends and family won’t talk about?
LOST. One by one, Ember discovers the answers to these questions, like a twisted game of dominos. And little by little, the person she used to be slips further and further away.
1) When Ember is released from the hospital after her accident and returns home, she becomes overwhelmed for a moment. Her doctor suggested a method to help her calm down in those times. Do you have anything you do during overwhelming times? What methods do you use?
Kristina @ Gone Pecan: Happens a lot actually. (Who would have thought? HAHA) I tend to just step back, get quiet (so I don’t blow a fuse) and take a few deep breathes. I MIGHT talk to myself a bit but I wouldn’t want to come off too crazy. 😛 Usually once I give myself a minute I come up with at least one or two ways we can tackle the issue at hand.
Candie @ The Grown-Up YA: Ohhhh where do I begin?! Most of my needing to calm down doesn’t come from being overwhelmed as much as being angry. When it’s mild anger, I do a few breathing exercises. One is breathing in 4 counts then exhaling 4 counts – this also is excellent for expanding your lung capacity, especially if you increase the counts to 6 and then 8 (band nerd alert). The other is inhaling and counting one, then exhaling and counting one, inhaling 2, exhaling 2, and so on. Lately I’ve also started replacing negative, angry thoughts with good, thankful thoughts – thank you for the wind on my face, thank you for the sun in the sky, thank you for laughter and jokes – which has REALLY seemed to help. I do this until I’m completely over my anger, which seems to be taking less and less time.
2) Memory loss – and the regaining of those memories – can often lead to thrilling, leave you guessing, edge of your seat stories. How do you think Loud Awake and Lost stacked up in comparison to other books dealing with lost memories? What are some other books that would be good follow ups to this one?
Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide: kind of love when stories have issues surrounding memory loss just because I feel just as in the dark as the main character. There’s so much to discover and it’s so scary not knowing that about your own life and to not remember what happened to you so it makes for a really gripping story! I feel like it often makes the main character an unreliable narrator without them even knowing which makes things REALLY interesting!
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA: I sometimes have a hard time with memory loss books that are about regaining memories. Maybe it’s my straightforward nature, but I sometimes get frustrated not knowing what’s going on. Pretty sure if I lost my memories, no matter how big or small, you’d have to send me to the loony bin because I don’t think I could handle it! That’s how I feel about books with memory loss and trying to regain them – the mystery drives me insane because I JUST WANT TO KNOW GOSH DARNIT! To me, this one is super frustrating because I didn’t seem to be able to figure anything out – which I’m sure means it’s excellent!
One of the best “memory loss” books I’ve read doesn’t really deal with it until the very end – The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And it’s not really even loss; it’s memory repression, which I think is just as creepy as loss.
3) Ember’s going through what’s known as “survivor’s guilt” – where the fact that she survived while someone else did not makes her feel guilty for surviving. Do you see this affecting not only her healing and gaining her memories but also her friends, family and hobbies? How is it affecting them (if it is)?
Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks: Ember’s survivor’s guilt is the major theme of the book. Even though she can’t remember what happened and the time leading up to it, her family and friends can, so in a way they are experiencing their own form of survivor’s guilt. They don’t know how much to divulge to Ember, particularly because she was acting differently before the accident, so her memory loss and trauma affects everyone she loves. The way Ember’s family and friends react to her is one of the most compelling parts of the story: some of them don’t even mind her amnesia, because it provides them with a second chance to get close to her. Survivor’s guilt is a very particular kind of grief, and I think it’s harder to shake than other kinds of grief, because there must also be relief and a sense of needing to make your life “count” since you already skirted death.
4) What was your opinion of Ember’s relationship with her BFF Rachel as we progressed through the book? Early on we’re told that they had had a falling out before Ember’s accident, but after the accident it’s as if the falling out had never happened. Were there signs, obvious or implied, that their relationship was as close as once thought?
Kristina @ Gone Pecan: Honestly, the way Rachel approached Ember bothered me. I definitely saw signs that things were being kept from Ember, trying to gain back the relationship they had before the accident. I realize they are teenage girls but if your friend can’t remember why you had a falling out and you do IMO that is forcing her to carry your pent up angry baggage along with her memory loss which to me showed up when Ember did anything that wasn’t what Rachel expected.
Tee @ YA Crush: In the beginning, I had no idea Rachel and Ember had had a falling out…not until the Weregirl poster came up. The two of them seemed so natural and at ease together and Rachel was there the very first night Ember returned from the hospital. It seemed so authentic to me, like they were slipping into their old roles. I also liked that Rachel seemed annoyed when Ember began to return a bit to the person she was in the lost weeks before the accident. It was like she felt she was losing her again. And even though she seemed to struggle with Ember being different than she wanted her to be at times, I appreciated that ultimately she admitted that they’d had a falling out and that the accident made her fear she’s never be able to say sorry to her (Ember.)
Check out what my fellow Selective Collective girls have to say about Loud Awake and Lost!