Book Review: The Memory Key by Liana Liu


The Memory Key
Author: Liana Liu
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: March 3rd 2015
Review Source: HarperTeen

In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.

Lora Mint is determined not to forget.

Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most importantly, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return.

But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer’s, that isn’t easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. Then a minor accident damages Lora’s key, and her memories go haywire. Suddenly Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother’s disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Can she trust these formerly forgotten memories? Or is her ability to remember every painful part of her past driving her slowly mad—burying the truth forever?

Lora’s longing for her lost mother and journey to patch up her broken memories is filled with authentic and poignant emotion. Her race to uncover the truth is a twisty ride. In the end, Liana Liu’s story will spark topical conversations about memory and privacy in a world that is reliant on increasingly invasive forms of technology.


The Memory Key has definitely been my most intriguing read so far this year. Set in the unknown future, Lora Mint has just graduated high school and can’t wait to enjoy summer break before college starts back up in the fall. It has been five years since her mother was in an accident that took her life, and now Lora is having troubles remembering the small stuff about her mom. Then one day Lora runs into a former teacher, who later almost gets into an accident, but luckily for the teacher Lora runs to her rescue and saves her from almost getting hit by a car. With doing so, Lora hits her head pretty hard and that messes with her Memory Key.

The Memory Key was invented after the Vergets disease epidemic (a form of Alzheimer’s disease). They were initially put into older generations, but once it became an epidemic they were installed into every child once they hit a certain age. The Key was made to function like your normal memory, not to remembering everything, but holding onto the important stuff, memoires still faded, still became hard to reach at times, but offered assurance that they wouldn’t lose it all and lose themselves.

 This book had intrigued me from the beginning with the concept and after Lora’s key was damaged and things started to get hairy and memories started flooding her I couldn’t stop wanting to see where this story took me. I can’t believe that girl handled all those memories flooding her whenever where ever and didn’t freak out more. During some points the book went a little slow for me, I still needed to know what was going to happen, and I needed to know the truth just as much as Lora did.

This book will definitely appeal to fans of The Program series. I had read this book just after I saw Still Alice, and thought that was completely fitting. Thinking would Alice have a Memory Key put in place if the option was available. Is it better to know everything, or be able to forget some things?


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