Review: The Memory Index by Julian R. Vaca

The Memory Index by Julian R. Vaca

The Memory Index
Julian R. Vaca
Thomas Nelson

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About The Memory Index

In a world where memories are like currency, dreams can be a complicated business.

In an alternative 1987, a disease ravages human memories. There is no cure, only artificial recall. The lucky ones–the recollectors–need the treatment only once a day.

Freya Izquierdo isn’t lucky. The high school senior is a “degen” who needs artificial recall several times a day. Plagued by blinding half-memories that take her to her knees, she’s desperate to remember everything that will help her investigate her father’s violent death. When her sleuthing almost lands her in jail, a shadowy school dean selects her to attend his Foxtail Academy, where five hundred students will trial a new tech said to make artificial recall obsolete.

She’s the only degen on campus. Why was she chosen? Freya is nothing like the other students, not even her new friends Ollie, Chase, and the alluring Fletcher Cohen. Definitely not at all like the students who start to vanish, one by one. And nothing like the mysterious Dean Mendelsohn, who has a bunker deep in the woods behind the school.

Nothing can prepare Freya and her friends for the truth of what that bunker holds. And what kind of memories she’ll have to access to survive it.

The Memory Index on Goodreads

My Review

I loved reading a book set in an alternate version of the 1980s! I thought it was really cool to see something so different and celebrating a really fun decade.

The pacing of the book seemed a little weird to me, though. It seemed like THE MEMORY INDEX was telling one kind of story and then kind of flipped to telling a different kind of story really late in the book. I struggled with the characters’ responses to the change, and the timing of the switch. Like they seemed to kind of roll with it as though there was no other choice, but then they also seemed content with the switch. It confused me.

I liked the relationship between Freya and Fletcher and the way both grow through the story. Another thing I liked is the way Ollie’s and Chase’s characters added humor and fun to the story.

On the whole, I think the story was okay. I liked the characters more than the plot. I wish the pacing had been different so that there was more time to explore how the characters felt as they learned new information. I’d say this one was a solid okay for me. If you love stories set in the 80s and alternate history or weird memory issues, you may love those elements of this book.

The Memory Index on Bookshop

Content Notes for The Memory Index

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Freya is Latinx American. Ollie is Filipino American.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content

Violent Content
Society is based on a deeply prejudiced class system determined by a test of how well someone remembers events from their past. A student makes racist comments about Ollie.

Drug Content
Teens drink beer. References to using hallucinogenic drugs.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of THE MEMORY INDEX in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

3 Responses to Review: The Memory Index by Julian R. Vaca

  1. Sounds like this book has some great elements, but also some areas where it could have been better. I love the concept, though!

  2. Jaimie engle says:

    Great review!