Lolo has always had problems with her memory, as far as she can remember. After writing down everything that she dreams of and remembers, Lolo becomes determined to get back to the life she only vaguely remembers.
Why this book?: I was offered an eARC and decided I needed something new and different. It also sounded interesting.
I would like to thank Scott Gable at Broken Eye Books for providing the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Writing a book with memory loss is a difficult feat, as you want to have just the right amount of mystery mixed with knowledge to keep the readers intrigued. While I feel at times Boskovich achieved this, I also feel like this is something she constantly struggled with. I often found myself confused over the wording and where the story was going, because Boskovich kept everything unclear, and therefore confusing. Other times, like when a character had their memory wiped and had no idea what was going on, I felt like I was in on something, because I knew so many more things than the characters. Boskovich obviously struggled with the narrative, but it’s impressive where she got with how little she had control over.
Never Now Always was very hard to follow, with a combination of the memory loss struggles, as well as the odd and clunky writing. The writing felt extremely awkward, especially when these huge, complicated words were coming out of the mouths of children. Boskovich seemed to have something going on, with how the narrative would switch between incomplete sentences to full conversations, but these switches came suddenly and without reason. Even when the writing was normal, it wasn’t, because there was always some aspect of it that was unfinished. Descriptions were left half finished, as were sentences, conversations, and explanations.
Of the characters, I never really connected with any of them. Lolo, Tess, and Gor were all caricatures, cardboard cut outs of ideas that Boskovich had, but couldn’t completely flesh out. Because of this, I was always extremely ostracized from the narrative, and just couldn’t get into anything.
When I was approached for this one, I assumed that my review inquiry page was read completely, because a few of my specifications were including when pitching. However, a large, and harmful, part of the story was left out that ultimately can and will harm other readers. Right in the beginning of the story, Lolo writes on the walls using her own blood. She uses a syringe, and scratches up her body to get to the “ink”. Not warning readers of the self harm in the beginning is very dangerous, especially if they themselves were recovering from self harm.
Final Rating: ★★½☆☆☆
My feelings of this one varied from “one star, lets get this over with” to “four star, omg what’s next??” over and over again. I found it difficult to really put a rating to this one, but when the ending came about, I basically felt like I was cheated out of my time. My aptly settled three star dropped, and here we are now.
Would I Recommend?
If you’re into memory loss types of stories, then I would go for it. It’s an overall interesting story, and I’m actually still very intrigued over the world and what Boskovich was going for at the end. If she comes out with a sequel, I’d be interested in reading it.
Trigger Warning for self harm, mental and physical abuse/trauma, kidnap, and memory loss.
Published: Jun 27th, 2017
Publisher: Broken Eye Books
Page Count: 98
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopia
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Lolo’s memories aren’t what they used to be. What’s real? What’s just dream? She can’t say, but she’s sure there used to be more. Who are these Caretakers? Where’s her family, her sister? What happened to the world? So many questions. Time to find answers.
From the Back Cover
Words. Memory. Identity. They came. And they took away our story. And they rewrote everything: all minds, all lives, all history. Everyone forgot.
But in this now, Lolo must reclaim her stolen words–her stolen family–from the silent Caretakers. She must call out to all rapt children, “This world is hell. Let’s run.” When the words needed are forgotten, lying unknown, when memories flit like smoke, how can she recover what is lost? She must. To live in this nightmare without a story would be too much to bear.
NEVER NOW ALWAYS is a weird sci-fi novella that explores how the stories we tell about ourselves shape us and those around us. It’s a chilling and thoughtful look at the thin line between memory and dream and the drive to find family.