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Persistence of Memory


Persistence of Memory

All fantasy fans should know Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, who has been writing about vampires, shapeshifters and werewolves for the past 10 novels. She has created intricate worlds in popular series books, but PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY introduces new characters, teenager Erin and vampire Shevaun, who are linked mentally while struggling with their own selves in this powerful tale.

Sixteen-year-old Erin Misrahe was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was little. She has been in and out of hospitals and takes a cocktail of medicines twice daily to help her not become Shevaun, her violent alter ego. It’s her first time in a real public school, and she’s thrilled to make a friend in Marissa. She even joins the fencing team at Marissa’s urging, though she’s afraid of becoming violent. She hasn’t had an episode in 18 months, so she thinks she’s safe. One day, after overexerting herself in fencing, she witnesses Marissa shapeshift into a tiger and feels she is hallucinating. Marissa agrees, and Erin visits her therapist more frequently. Then she has a dream that she’s Shevaun, and Shevaun’s boyfriend, Adjila, tries to convince her that she’s really Shevaun.

Soon after, Erin is contacted for the first time in a long while by Sassy, a hot male teen she met in the hospital. Sassy gave Erin her first kiss, and while nervous about meeting up with someone from that time in her life, she is happy to see him again. When he picks her up from school, he and Marissa argue, which is unusual as they have never met before.

Sassy is reluctant to tell Erin about his unusual qualities and tries to convince her that maybe she isn’t really mentally ill but rather has special powers, yet Erin dismisses these ideas. But when the Adjila from Erin’s dreams comes to talk to them during their evening out, Erin no longer trusts herself to know what is real and what is not.

Shevaun has been hurt by an attack by hunters in Paris, where she lives with Adjila and her “girls,” two other loner vampires. She is weak when Erin has her dream, and Erin actually invades her body. Shevaun goes to America with her “family” to stop the link with Erin, even if it means killing her. But when they arrive, they realize that a powerful Triste witch has marked Erin with his or her power. They kidnap Erin and Sassy instead to try to find the source of Erin’s strange psychic powers and why she and Shevaun are so linked.

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’s books are filled with twists and fascinating characters, and this one is no exception. Shevaun is not simply a vampire with a thirst; she is multilayered and feels emotions more and more the longer she is linked with Erin, who ends the book in a totally unexpected and surprising way. Atwater-Rhodes takes what readers love about fantasy, in this case shapeshifters and vampires, and challenges boundaries in creative ways to bring fresh ideas. How do creatures, even ones who have committed great harm, struggle with moral issues? What does it mean to be normal? This excellent read packs a lot of action and impact in its short 224 pages.

Reviewed by Amy Alessio on October 18, 2011

Persistence of Memory
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

  • Publication Date: December 9, 2008
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385734379
  • ISBN-13: 9780385734370