It will be hard to forget my favorite Miranda Kenneally book so far!
In Things I Can’t Forget, good girl Kate Kelly takes a job at a Christian summer camp without her best friend Emily. After a major fallout with Emily that shook Kate’s beliefs, she hopes to finally move past her sins. At camp, Kate reunites with Matt, her first kiss from camp years ago. Soon, Kate finds herself in another position that compromises her beliefs.
Last year, I read Stealing Parker and was slightly disappointed. I wasn’t a fan of the relationships within the book and I felt some of the characters were stereotypical. Even though I found some of these problems within Things I Can’t Forget, I liked this book more than Stealing Parker and it actually helped me love Stealing Parker more. However, some Kenneally fans may disappointed that this book does not really integrate sports like her other books.
I have mixed feelings towards the main character Kate. I really liked how Miranda Kenneally explored a teenager’s Christian faith because it is rarely explored within mainstream YA fiction. That being said, I think Kenneally also made Kate a little too cartoonish and unrelatable. Kate always came across as too naive or judgmental, which may discourage some readers from finishing the book. While I appreciate that Kate always stood up for values even though they vastly differed from her peers, I wish Kenneally portrayed Kate in a less stereotypical manner and a more positive light.
One aspect of Things I Can’t Forget was seeing more of Parker and Will. In Stealing Parker, I felt like I didn’t really get to see much of their relationship. I also liked seeing Parker grow as a character and how she helped Kate grow as a character as well. They both quickly passed certain judgments on each other, but I liked how they recognized that even though they had different outlooks on life, they could still be friends. Even though I haven’t read Catching Jordan, I also appreciated the scene with Jordan. She seemed like a really cool character and it makes me want to read her story.
As for the relationship between Kate and Matt, I also have mixed feelings. I liked how Matt was used to help Kate grow as a character, especially concerning her faith. However, sometimes Matt seemed a little too perfect. Besides being a dork when he was younger, he really didn’t have any flaws. Also, (SPOILER) Matt tells Kate at the end that she was his sign. At ten years old, he wanted to commit suicide because of what happened in his life. Meeting her, however, stopped him from going through with it. I think this was unnecessary to the plot and may give some YA readers an unhealthy view of relationships.
Overall, Things I Can’t Forget is a cute and quick YA read that would be perfect for the summertime. Things I Can’t Forget explores tough topics for YA fiction, but handles them well. I give Things I Can’t Forget four out of five stars.