Books · Reviews

In The Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers 

2 stars

Hope is dying.

Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.

Hope is dead.

Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together:

Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.
Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.
Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.
And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.

Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.

Hope is within reach.

I received an eARC of this book via NetGalley. In no way did that affect my review.

I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. The summary sounds really interesting, I’ve heard only good things about the author’s other work (and this book too!), the cover is gorgeous and it’s set in New York. What’s not to love? A lot. :3

Firstly, the writing. From the summary, you can tell that there are four main characters and this book is told in their points of view. Their respective chapters do not repeat in any fixed order, it’s very random. My biggest issue with this book was that each chapter has no clear demarcation of WHOSE point of view it is! Sam’s chapters were written in script form so those were distinguishable but the rest were written in a very similar tone and I had to read a couple pages before even knowing who is narrating it. I don’t know if that was a problem in the ARC that I received but that was really annoying.

Apart from that, the writing of the story was very okay. The tone was very similar, as I mentioned, and very plain. The dialogue was boring and if I’m being honest, I started skimming after three quarters of the book. There was nothing about the story that really grabbed my attention and kept me hooked.

The premise of the story was really cool – Hope, who died of terminal illness, left a treasure hunt through her graffiti around New York for her four best friends to solve and through it, they each learnt a lot more about themselves and overcame some of their biggest fears. While this sounds great, the clues were all so random and I refuse to believe that they solved them so easily, literally within minutes! Some of the clues were inside jokes but most weren’t and I do not accept that they solved them so easily!!!

The whole story is very character driven but I didn’t like the characters much either! It is a very diverse cast, I’ll give her that, but diversity doesn’t make up for bad dialogue and terrible personalities. Firstly, all of their narratives were basically the same so they didn’t have any distinct personalities. Second, they all had some problems in their life which Hope sought to fix but they were neither easy to relate to because of the unnecessarily complex back stories nor very interesting for me. :/

Something I was really excited about was reading about New York, but they all seemed to be united by a mutual hatred of the city so that sucked 😛 This book also features the age old absent parents trope, which was annoying. A redeeming quality of the book is the scenes when the characters were having deep heart to heart moments of reminiscence of their mutual friend, Hope. Those were very sweet and emotional to read about.

All in all, this just was not the book for me.


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