on March 21st 2016
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Hope is dying.
Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and theyÔÇÖll solve the problems haunting their lives.
Hope is dead.
Two days after her heart fails, HopeÔÇÖs friends are thrown together:
Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline. Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.
Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete HopeÔÇÖs scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in HopeÔÇÖs graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.
Hope is within reach.
┬áÔÿå.ÔÇó*┬┤┬¿`*ÔÇóÔÇó 5 stars ÔÇóÔÇó*┬┤┬¿`*ÔÇó.Ôÿå
The┬áladies of Once Upon A Page┬álike to be different and we LOVE to share the book reading experience with each other . In this case, Paula suggested this book and it quickly turned into a #BuddyRead ~ what’s better than a Q & A to share our thoughts on this lovely story? ┬á
1.┬áHow did you experience the story? Were you engaged immediately and did you like how the story unfolds?
Paula: The story drew me in right from the start. At the beginning, I was just as confused as Erik, not knowing what is going on. And so I got to experience his feelings in a very realistic way…just as shocked by the news he received as he was…. I loved how the author took me on a journey – never knowing more than the characters do. This allowed the story to have a bigger impact and to let me feel like I’m a part of it. As the story went on, I got even more invested in the fate of the characters, my heart breaking for every single one of them. I loved how the story was written, how Olivia Rivers spun an intricate web that held me captive until the last word.
Cyndi: Yes indeed. From the very first chapter I was involved. I like the tone that was set, with the individual point of views and once Erik and Aiden started interacting and ┬áI saw how at odds they were, I was intrigued to see how they were going to handle the challenge that Hope gives them. This is exactly the type of premise that ┬ámakes for a story that unfolds; events trigger events and it all happens in a well plotted period of time.
Loredana: I guess I’m the odd lady out…I was just plodding along until I hit around 70(ish)%.┬á It all felt like backstory for me until that point.┬áIt┬áwas interesting to see how the story unfolded and I think that’s what kept me dialed in, even though there were a few times I wanted to skim rather than delve into the book.┬á However, there are some pivotal points┬átowards the end of the book when everything started to come together.┬á I did cry at the end (well, a few times toward the end of the book).┬á I’ve┬ánever had a book do such a┬á180 on me emotionally…so really interesting in that respect.
2. The┬ácharacters represent a wide┬ávariety of┬ápersonalities. Who did you feel most connected to? Who do you think is impacted the most by Hope’s “scavenger hunt”?
Paula: From the start I felt most connected to Aiden. His good heart and gentle personality won my heart over. The issues he had to battle with everyday without ever giving up, made me respect him and admire him. And his personality was just endearing and his need for order and structure weirdly appealing. I might have a little crush on Aiden, to be honest. But I don’t think that he was the one most impacted by the scavenger hunt. Not a single one of them was impacted more than the other. For all of them, it was a profound and life-changing experience – in different ways but just as important.
Cyndi: Well something about Erik tugged at my heart. His life as it’s been, steady and sure, leaves him the least prepared for what he’s facing. But he didn’t drone on about it, he just hadn’t dealt with it head on. I do have a thing for unrequited love stories and his feelings for Hope fit neatly in that box. That’s what he shared with Hope.
Agree with you Paula – I think they all were equally impacted and changed.
Loredana: Cyndi, me, too!!!┬á While I appreciated the depth of Aiden, I really connected to Erik from the beginning.┬á I liked watching his growth over the course of the few days.┬á His layers and how he hides his nerdiness was quite touching.┬á I love me some nerds (as a self-professed nerd).┬á I think they’re all impacted equally, in their own way.
(Cyndi: Yes Loredana!! I really loved that nerdy side and fell harder for him┬áin the scene at the coffee house and the mean girls…)
3. The scavenger hunt is sometimes a task for a certain person leading to a transformation, however small that might be.┬áDo you think Hope’s goal(s) were┬árealistic?
Paula: Every big change starts with a small step. Though the effects of Hope’s scavenger hunt might appear small at first, their impact will be felt by the characters for years to come. It’ll be something to give them hope when they take a step back instead of forward. I do believe she achieved her goals because she allowed them to get a different perspective on things. To allow them to see there is more to them, they are stronger than they think.
Cyndi: I love how the scavenger hunt narrates the story and exposes their personalities. I think it says a lot about what she felt for them. It’s interesting that Kali is really the first to face a task, while Erik and Aiden are challenged to connect. And while it’s important to bring Sam in, even for Sam’s sake, I didn’t see Sam needing the push for a shakeup as much as they others. ┬áI do think Kali was most impacted. She was a train wreck and needed saving in a big way. But the impact is equal in that it felt like each of them experienced the amount of change they could handle for the time. There is no doubt that Hope won’t be with them everyday for the rest of their lives.
Loredana: A person’s perception is reality, and each character experienced their own reality profoundly.┬áWhich means,┬áeven if one person views a transformation as small, the person experiencing may say it is utterly immense.┬á They┬áwere all┬áchanged and tied together by the end.┬á I think Hope realized she was the glue to all of these individuals and needed to find a way to cement the glue.┬á I believe they were realistic because she knew each person so intimately.┬á That was Hope; good, light, caring, and connected to each person in the best way possible.
4. ItHoM is bound to have an impact on the reader. Do you feel that the story changed or moved you?┬á
Paula: I don’t have the right words to describe how much this book affected me and how deeply it touched me. I finished it a couple weeks ago but it just doesn’t let me go. It gives so much food for thought, but also evokes so many emotions, it’s impossible not to feel it to the core. ‘In the Memory of Hopes’ teaches so much about self-acceptance and self-love, about courage and hope. I do think it’s the kind of book that should be read in every high school, by every teacher and parent. It’s the type of book that can change someone’s life.
Cyndi: Well darn you Paula, your response brought tears to my eyes. Okay *composing myself*…
Yes, ┬áthis story has been on my mind for days. Olivia Rivers shares some very introspective and profound thoughts about life and how we live it. I haven’t been able to get the “red string” story off my mind. I actually felt my heart clench with this line:
┬á ÔÇ£Some are destined to change the fates of each other, and these people are bound together by an invisible red string. The thread may stretch or tangle or pull, but it will never break. When life changes, sometimes those people will, too. But the thread will forever remain in place.” ┬áIt’s a reminder about being connected and I’m a big believer in fate.
Loredana: I’m with Cyndi….been thinking about the “red string”.┬á Though the story hasn’t changed me, it certainly moved me.┬á Rivers showed how to find beauty in tragedy.┬á Life isn’t always fair; sometimes it downright sucks.┬á However, there can always be a silver lining or another sunrise to experience.
5.┬áThere aren’t really any flashbacks that show us who Hope is; we only know her through┬áthe eyes of the scavenger hunt participants. Do you think this was this enough to give you a good impression of who she was?
Paula: In my opinion, Hope was someone who always put others first. Who lived to help and guide others. Flashbacks aren’t necessary to show the gist of who she was. The fact that even after her death, she still guides and helps and loves the people she cared about, making their life better, is all we need to know.
Cyndi: You know, I was surprised when I realized there weren’t really any scenes with Hope, yet I felt I knew her. She made such a string impression on this group that their opinions and reflections on her beliefs made me feel like I know her too. She’s such a strong character she comes through loud and clear in her art and letters.
Loredana: Yes, I felt as though I knew her better than anyone else.┬á I’m sad I didn’t get to experience her in the first person, but Rivers wound the red string so thoroughly into the others’ lives that I didn’t feel as though I missed too much. We got the best of Hope thorough her friends.
6.┬áIn the end, was there anything missing?
Paula: This book was perfect as it was. It gave the closure needed but allows me to imagine for myself how the characters go on. What their life will be and what they have learned from the scavenger hunt.
Cyndi: In the Hope of Memories was a refreshing read. It has a unique premise and it’s different from the norm. It’s smart, emotional and well crafted.
Yes Paula, I agree. I can picture their paths forward and like to believe that the bonds forged through Hope will continue on.
Loredana: Nope.┬á We got a snapshot of their lives and their pain.┬á Life continues, as does the red string.┬á There are no coincidences, so that must mean the book ended exactly a it should.
6 Stars from Paula ~ ┬á5 Stars from Cyndi ~ 4 Stars from Loredana
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Guest Post ~ Olivia Rivers
Quirky Research for a Quirky Book
My life is far too normal to make for interesting fiction, but you wouldnÔÇÖt guess it by looking at my internet search history. When you write about people who have been screwed over by fate, you end up having to research some really sad, really dark topics. And also some flat-out bizarre topics no normal chick should spend her time reading about.
At this point, IÔÇÖm pretty sure at least a few government agencies have me flagged on some sort of Potential Psychopath Watch List. Looking up weird things is kind of unavoidable when youÔÇÖre a writer, and while writing ÔÇ£In the Hope of Memories,ÔÇØ I researched some extremely strange questions. After a while, I started keeping track of my quirkiest research questions. Among my top favorites are the following:
- Can the content of graffiti art make a jail sentence harsher or lighter?
- How do graffiti artists paint details without getting totally high? (Hint: they donÔÇÖt.)
- Can you hack a storeÔÇÖs standard security system from an Android smart phone?
- Is it legal to bring a cat into a restaurant?
- What are the best techniques for smuggling an illegal cat into a restaurant?
- How fast would a taxi have to be travelling to cause serious injuries to a pedestrian?
- How do Ivy League universities detect applications that use forged documents?
- WhatÔÇÖs the most successful way to shoplift?
- WhatÔÇÖs the best part of a car to steal, if you canÔÇÖt take the whole thing?
- Can you use allergy medication to stop someone from going into cardiac arrest? (Hint: shockingly, yeah, you can.)
- What is the difference between a psychopath, a psychotic, and a sociopath?
- How do you build a bomb?
- Where do you buy materials for building a bomb?
- Is it cheaper for an author to hire someone to erase their name from government watch lists, or to just move to a secluded island nation?
- Which website has the best deals on one-way tickets to Tahiti?
- Can you tell us a little about your new book?
Absolutely! ÔÇ£In the Hope of MemoriesÔÇØ is the story of Hope, a young, eccentric graffiti artist whoÔÇÖs stuck in the foster system. When Hope gets diagnosed with a terminal heart condition, she realizes that her four best friends are on the brink of ruining their lives, and that they might not be okay once sheÔÇÖs dead and not there to support them anymore. So she creates an elaborate scavenger hunt using her graffiti art thatÔÇÖs meant to ÔÇ£fixÔÇØ her friends so she can die in peace and know theyÔÇÖll be alright without her.
- Do you have a favorite character?
Asking authors this question is like asking a parent who their favorite child is. So my answer is Aiden, because I am terrible enough to actually pick favorites. Aiden is intensely logical, loyal, and moral. HeÔÇÖs a total sweetheart, and I see him as being everything thatÔÇÖs right with the world. But since he has OCD and an autism spectrum disorder, the world sees him as being ÔÇ£wrong,ÔÇØ just because no one else understands him. As an author, writing AidenÔÇÖs character was both a heart-warming and gut-wrenching experience, and heÔÇÖll always be a favorite of mine.
- What genre is ÔÇ£In the Hope of Memories?ÔÇØ
ThatÔÇÖs a very good question, and everyone from my agent to my author friends canÔÇÖt quite figure out the answer. However, I think I like my critique partnerÔÇÖs description best: ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs like if a Colleen Hoover book had a baby with The Breakfast Club, and that baby was given a huge dose of shitty luck and LSD.ÔÇØ┬á
- Do you plot out your story before you write it?
No, I find it impossible to plot my stories before I start writing. I always have a vague idea of the beginning, and I usually know what the ending lines will be. But how my characters will get from the beginning to the end is always a mystery I unravel in the first draft.
- Where did you get the idea for ÔÇ£In the Hope of Memories?ÔÇØ
My inspiration for the book came from a quirky mix of sources, which is probably why the book turned out pretty quirky itself. IÔÇÖd been listening to a rap song by the Gym Class Heroes called ÔÇ£Stereo Hearts,ÔÇØ and while listening to this, I was also reading about Erwin SchrodingerÔÇÖs satirical thought experiment critiquing the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. This led to two major epiphanies: The first was that I am a total geek, which really wasnÔÇÖt all that interesting of an epiphany, since I have it at least ten times a week. The second epiphany was that I desperately needed to write about a young graffiti artist who is both dead and alive at once, just like the subject of SchrodingerÔÇÖs thought experiment. And so the concept for ÔÇ£In the Hope of MemoriesÔÇØ was born.
- What was the hardest part of writing ÔÇ£In the Hope of Memories?ÔÇØ
My novel has four points of view, which isnÔÇÖt very common in Young Adult books. Working with four very different main characters meant establishing four distinct voices, and that was quite challenging. However, the clashing personalities of the characters was also what made writing ÔÇ£In the Hope of MemoriesÔÇØ such an enjoyable project!
- What does your writing process look like?
My process changes with every book, but I generally write very long first drafts and then cut and revise from there. But no matter how I approach writing a book, I always need chocolate and music as fuel. No exceptions there!
- Are any of the characters from ÔÇ£In the Hope of MemoriesÔÇØ based off yourself?
Nope, definitely not! IÔÇÖm a very reserved person, so the thought of sticking myself in a book for all the world to see isÔÇª horrifying. That being said, my characters ended up with a few of my own quirks. I canÔÇÖt tell the difference between right and left, just like my character Erik, and this causes all sorts of shenanigans when someone has to give me driving directions. And like my character Sam, I also enjoy wearing The Flash t-shirts when I use my wheelchair, because irony really is the best medicine. Also, my laptop named Vladimir makes a cameo appearance in ÔÇ£In the Hope of Memories.ÔÇØ (R.I.P. Vladimir.) But, aside from tiny quirks like that, none of the characters or events in the book are based on my real life.
- Is ÔÇ£In the Hope of MemoriesÔÇØ part of a series?
No, this story is a standalone and wonÔÇÖt be continued in other books.
- Is ÔÇ£In the Hope of MemoriesÔÇØ connected to any of your other books?
Yes, in some ways, it definitely is! While the plots donÔÇÖt directly intertwine, if readers look carefully, theyÔÇÖll find references to my other books within the pages of ÔÇ£In the Hope of Memories.ÔÇØ