Say You’ll Remember Me – Katie McGarry – Harlequin Teen Australia – Published 22 January 2018
When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.
Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.
When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.
But sometimes love can breach all barriers.
Say You’ll Remember Me is simply stunning. Incredibly powerful, emotive, and heartbreaking, with characters that slip into your heart and refuse to leave, Say You’ll Remember Me demonstrates the importance of grace and understanding in this story of family and love. Once again Katie McGarry delivers a wonderful book. I have come to expect nothing less from this extraordinary writer, but nevertheless, McGarry seems to pass all expectations. In my opinion, Say You’ll Remember Me is her very best book to date.
Elle knows she is blessed – good parents, a safe and secure life, endless opportunities – but still she feels trapped. Trapped by the expectations of a life in the spotlight thanks to her father’s political career. Trapped by her own feelings of failure to live up to those expectations. For Drix, fresh out of juvenile detention and a second chance program, life has been against him since he was born. Now he has been given a chance to start over, but he too is constrained by expectations. Elle and Drix are not supposed to meet, not supposed to build a friendship against everyone’s orders to stay apart, and not supposed to connect in such a powerful way. But sometimes, there is one person in life who can see past all the facades and lies, and who believes in you, no matter what, and they are worth fighting for.
Be still my beating heart. Drix and Elle are two incredibly powerful characters. They earned my love for their honesty, openness, strength, and determination. I loved their stories. With Drix, Katie McGarry raises the important themes of second chances, forgiveness, and fighting for survival. The reality of many systems failing our young men and women is a sad truth all too common the world over. Drix is a strong character who is easy to love and support. He is a fighter, and watching him turn that from self-destructive fighting to supporting his family, Elle, and finally himself, is beautiful.
Elle’s story reveals the dangers of the expectations of perfection, and the reality that emotional abuse and manipulation all too easily hide behind ‘success’ and ‘good family’ status. Elle’s hurt and the way she is torn between love for her family and the ways in which their expectations make her feel inadequate is very relatable.
Together, Drix and Elle form a strong and supportive bond, highlighted by McGarry’s emotive writing. Once again, McGarry creates a relationship that leaps from the page. But equally important in this book are the relationships outside of romance: family and friendship. Parents, brothers and sisters, brothers by choice, the family you make. There are so many beautiful characters in Say You’ll Remember Me, calling them secondary characters seems rude, and I hope to see some of them again in future books.
I did get a little annoyed by Drix’s emphasis on Elle’s beauty (blonde, blue eyed, blah, blah, blah), but fortunately they build a relationship on shared understanding, sweet moments, and mutual support, as well as physical attraction. And, despite the story being based in a political setting, the book does a fairly good job of navigating political landmines that might alienate some readers.
Overall, there were so many things I loved about Say You’ll Remember Me. Beautiful, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful, Say You’ll Remember Me is perfect for readers who enjoy strong young-adult contemporary with important themes.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Juvenile detention, crime, politics, government, family, expectations, friendship, romance, rehabilitation programs.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references, innuendo, references to sexual relationships and implied sexual scenes. Infrequent coarse language, bit** (5), as***** (31), pis* (23). References to drug and alcohol use, abuse and addiction. Violence.
Published: 22 January 2018 by Harlequin Teen Australia, 30 January 2018 by Harlequin Teen.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 400 pages.