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Book Review: YA meets Black Mirror in “Lies My Memory Told Me”

Nowadays, Netflix’s hit TV show Black Mirror doesn’t seem like a distant warning of technology’s danger. Robotic dogs have taken over, and biomedical tech has become a worrying issue of ethics as of late. There’s no denying our reliance on technology. Still, more than ever, the advances we’re making are starting to look more and more like an episode of Black Mirror.

And this is where Sacha Wunsch’s upcoming YA thriller “Lies My Memory Told Me” comes in. Enhanced Memory, technology allowing for anyone to experience or learn anything without any risk, is the hottest tech on the market. Users can travel the world, learn a new skill, or go zip lining without even leaving their couch–what’s not to love? Nova doesn’t mind EM all that much–her parents created the tech, and she sees the good in it, although the work seems to be taking over their lives.

Then Nova meets Kade–an enigmatic risk-taker who was formerly addicted to EM tech and runs a secret vlog recording real experiences. Despite their growing connection, Kade seems almost afraid of Nova. Unanswered questions, witnessing strange treatments at her job, and the feeling of forgetfulness lead Nova down the rabbit hole into the secrets of EM, her parents, Kade, and herself.

More than this being a cautionary tale of technology, “Lies My Memory Told Me” is a story of the human experience and the risks we’re willing to take to feel more. Yes, Wunsch’s Enhanced Memory tech perfectly aligns with the rise of the smartphone. Still, there are elements of current biomedical tech and its gray areas. Although a YA novel, Wunsch articulates the ethical and moral issues of Enhanced Memory without dumping high-brow, philosophical rants.

Throughout the novel, layers are pulled back on EM’s permeance in society and its effects on users, but with little suspense. With just a tad more suspense and danger, “Lies My Memory Told Me” could’ve been just as thrilling and nerve-wracking as a Black Mirror episode.

Even with the big reveal–an intriguing one nonetheless that definitely took me by surprise–there was too little build-up to the climax. The secrets revealed are more of a footnote than the monumental moment it could’ve been with the right amount of suspense sprinkled throughout and emphasis on the big reveal.

What makes for an intriguing read on the dangers of tech and the human experience is that it lacks the punch it could’ve landed. Nevertheless, “Lies My Memory Told Me” will transport you into a spectacular Black Mirror episode.

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