Review: The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato

The Hidden Memory of Objects

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.

Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother's charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

This book's selling point is the realism that it puts into Megan and her family's grieving. Amato demonstrated the stages of grief so well and so realistically, and yet managed to weave in this mystery and romance into it so seamlessly.

The book starts at Megan's older brother's funeral. Tyler - nicknamed red for his bright hair and brighter personality - was found dead, but the police announce to her family that drugs were found in his system. Whilst her parents shut down and believe it, Megan knows that that can't be right and she throws herself into investigating it. The realistic way that Amato wrote Megan's emotions - the denial and second guessing, how well did she know her older brother is just made even better by Nathan, a friend of her brothers that she never even knew about.

There's an aspect of magical realism thrown in with Megan's ability to see snippets of the past by touching certain objects. Whilst that was the reason I started this book, it was never the reason I kept reading. No, that was the brilliant characters, relationships and friendships.

Eric was an amazing sidekick to Megan, and I was sort of expecting a love triangle but thankfully this book doens't have one of those. No, Eric and Megan have a platonic friendship and I loved every word of it. I also loved Nathan - he wasn't without faults, but he did care deeply about Megan and about her brother and about finding the truth. It was adorable.

Now, I'm a brit so I know very little about American history but I loved all the references to John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln assassination and how that tied into the story. Some of it flew over my head but what I did understand I loved.

Overall, The Hidden Memory of Objects was a very pleasant surprise for me. Amato wrote a book that so seamlessly tied the emotion and the mystery and the action together to create a book that I simply couldn't put down.

Book released 21st May 2017 by Balzer and Bray
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review

1 comment

  1. I have this book, but didn't get to it yet!! I was very happy to see a review for it pop up today to remind me that I need to!! Glad you loved it-- I didn't realize there was a historical angle mixed in. That's very cool!


Tell me your thoughts on the post, the book, the world. I like volcanoes, feel free to tell me about volcanoes.