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Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer
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Dec 31, 11

"Why don’t they let you sleep if you’re supposed to sleep? Nurses kept coming in to check on me. All I wanted to do was pass out, because every time I opened my eyes, everything was too bright, too loud, too painful. I didn’t want food. No, I don’t want a drink of water. Yes, my head still hurts. Yes, I still feel like puking my brains out. When will this all stop?

Please, just leave me alone.

I fell.

I fell."


Beautiful cover, no?

I have to admit I refuse most self-published requests that come my way. I expect the same quality out of a self-published novel that I do a traditionally published one. That may not be strictly fair, but there are a lot of resources out there for self-published authors--to make their manuscript professional quality (ie editing services, writing conferences, group critiques, etc.)

NOTES TO SELF is a Sarah Dessen-isque novel. It’s a reflective journey of a high school student who falls thirty feet from the top of a mall amusement ride and suffers some brain injury. Her memory is affected, including of the actual fall itself. She can’t remember why she was up there. Her friend who was with her ends up in a coma.

Robin must now figure out how to live her life in a type of slow-motion, not remembering everything, and having to remind herself constantly how to do the most basic of tasks. Her longtime friend, Reno, stays with her throughout her search, offering her a kind of sweet support.

Here’s my take: While the writing is poetic at times, Avery Sawyer could improve her writing by studying Sarah Dessen. Dessen doesn’t sacrifice pacing to show her main character’s journey of discovery. By halfway through this book, I felt the pacing slowed far, far too much.

If you like realistic YA fiction, then you should definitely take a look at this book. Sawyer’s writing is better than 99% of any other YA self-pubs I’ve read.

Content Warning: Profanity, f-words, swearing. Recommended for ages 16+.
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