Desert Isle Keeper
YA Dystopia is a crammed genre, but also one I truly love when it’s done well – and Forget Tomorrow blasts right past ‘well’ on its way to ‘brilliantly’. The best authors build originality within a genre framework (romance readers know this better than anyone!). Forget Tomorrow has the dystopian classics – the wicked urban setting, the liberated wilderness, the evil corporate-bureaucratic government, the first-person narrator teenage heroine at a life-changing turning point, even the sibling in jeopardy – and I loved it all.
All seventeen-year-olds in Eden City receive a memory from their future selves, a vision which tells them clearly what they are meant to do or be. For Callie Stone, though, her vision is a nightmare: she sees herself murdering her beloved younger sister, Jessa. Callie knows she’d do anything to prevent this vision from coming true, but she’s dealing with the slipperiness of Fate. Will certain decisions – or people, like her classmate Logan Russell – help her escape her future? Or will attempting to avert her fate accidentally lead her to it?
The teen-girl-versus-her-entire-social-order is a dystopia staple, but Dunn puts an original spin on it by shrinking Callie’s quest. She’s not trying to bring down Eden City, she’s just trying not to murder her sister. Events after that cascade hard and fast, and boy, I was sucked in. I barely got back out to do things like, you know, go to work, or sleep. It’s been a while since I found a book I really couldn’t put down, so this was a thrill.
The downside is that between the first-person narration and the action-packed plot, the characterization wasn’t quite as outstanding as it could have been. Callie is a protector and caretaker, unwaveringly loyal to her sister, but her dream of being a chef felt a bit shoehorned in. Logan is a hero in the Peeta-from-the-Hunger-Games mold: he’s loved the heroine from afar for years, and his purpose is to be her support and sidekick. As someone who adored Peeta and adores beta heroes of all stripes, I have no complaints! He’s just not complex, and his future memory of swimming greatness seems like a trivial motivation next to the life-and-death stakes of Callie’s vision.
The supporting cast, however, is a strength, from the prisoners Callie meets (especially the tragic-futured Sully, forecast to murder her rapist) and the members of the Underground. I never knew where we stood with the Underground leader. Motivations aren’t as simple as ‘Do you want to bring down this horrible evil government or not?’ which they typically are in dystopian fiction. Rather, it’s ‘What can I do to fulfill or avoid the horrible fates forecast for myself or others – and how might I be compromised in the present because of that?’
Future memory (receiving visions from your future self) is an ethical and space-time minefield, and the author does explore this. Callie’s not the only predicted future-criminal, for instance, and Eden City has a plan for that. Resources are redirected towards the predicted-great (Callie’s mother, a medical tech, has been repeatedly turned down for promotions because her bosses would rather bet on sure-things with visions of medical giftedness).
The last thing I’ll say, and try not to be spoilery, is that I’m so glad I came late to the series, because this book ends on a cliffhanger. Especially for a romance reader, it was critical to be able to flow directly into the second book, Remember Yesterday (for which a second DIK review is forthcoming!). So my advice to you? Don’t start Forget Tomorrow until you have time for a full-on Pintip Dunn binge. You’ve got at least 800 pages of addictive binging ahead of you.