home           about           reviews           author insight           review policy

Monday, April 23, 2012

From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas

Release Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 480
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
KYLIE: Tijuana WHAT? I should be putting the finishing touches on my valedictorian speech. Graduation is TODAY, and is this a wedding band on my finger.

MAX: It all started with Kylie's laptop and a truck full of stolen electronics Okay, it was kind of hot, the way she broke us out like some chick in an action movie. But now we're stranded in TIjuana. WIth less than twenty-four hours before graduation. Awesome.

WILL: Saving Kylie Flores from herself is kind of a full-time occupation. Luckily, I, Will Bixby, was born for the job. And when I found out she was stuck in Mexico with dreamy Max Langston, sure, I agreed to bring thier passports across the border--but there's no reason to rush back home right away. This party is just getting started.

LILY: I just walked in on my boyfriend, Max Langston, canoodling with Kylie Flores, freak of the century. Still, I can't completely hold it against him. He NEEDS me. It's even clearer now. And I'm not giving him up without a fight.

From What I Remember is a laugh-out-loud, pop culture filled, self-aware adventure of the last 3 days of senior year at Freiburg Academy in San Diego.  You will be hooked by the end of the prologue, which reads like a high school version of The Hangover.  Valedictorian and aspiring filmwriter Kylie Flores wakes up in an unfamiliar bedroom in Ensenada, Mexico with a pounding headache and no memory of how she got there.  Next to her is the hottest guy in school, Max Langston, who doesn’t seem surprised to see her OR the matching gold rings they are sporting.  You know who is surprised to see them?  Max’s girlfriend, Lily Wentworth.

Rewind two days into the past, where we follow Kylie, Max, Lily, Kylie’s best friend Will, and Kylie’s little brother Jake on a whirlwind caper of unfair school assignments, temper-filled shin kicks, stolen backpacks, last minute car jackings, accidental border crossings, unlikely friendships, even more unlikely romantic relationships, epiphanies and revelations out the wazoo, and one of the funniest and most awkward confession scenes I have ever experienced.  I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.

I’m having a hard time deciding which character is my favorite, which is honestly a great problem to have.  Kylie is so snarky and sharp, but it’s all to hide her vulnerable side and her inner sweetness.  Max can charm the pants off of anyone, he’s far more introspective than his popular jock persona would suggest, and he’s fighting his own secret battle outside of the walls of Freiburg.  Max and Kylie have amazing chemistry that practically leaps off the page as well.  And, Will.  Oh, Will is… well, he’s like that gay boyfriend you always wanted but never knew existed in real life- he’s loyal to a fault, he quotes all the best movies, he’ll bring you In-n-Out Burger at a moment’s notice, and he always has the best retorts for any occasion.  Much like Janis and Damian, he is the greatest person you will ever meet.

There is so much going on inside the mind of every character, so I thought the alternating points of view worked really well for the most part.  While I understand the inclusion of Jake and Lily, their voices didn’t bring as much to the story as the others.  However, by keeping their chapters brief and to the point, it kept the pace rolling along.  Movie quotes from Clueless, Memento, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and other such favorites from my personal collection begin each chapter, giving the reader a peek into what’s to come.  I’m a self-proclaimed pop culture junkie, so of course I loved that.  Both of the authors have a past in the film industry, so it’s also no surprise to see this used so well.  Also, these kids talk like real kids.  They curse, they joke around, they speak their minds.  Except for the fact that they kept using the word “wack” in almost every situation and their truly awful texting abbreviations, I found the rest to be refreshing.  Their voices are contemporary and modern, but there’s a timeless quality about them.  They say things that I could imagine hearing from the mouths of my own friends in high school. 

If you’re looking for a fast paced, satisfying, and gut-bustingly hilarious read for the summer, From What I Remember is just what you need.


  1. I'm so happy you liked this one! I was a little skeptical about it at first, but now I can't wait to read it! Great review!

  2. High school version of The Hangover? I could roll with that! Glad to hear you enjoyed it! It sounds like a fun summer read! By the pool. In the sun. With my iPod. Alright...someone's fantasizing now...lol. I blame it on all the end of the semester work I've yet to do!