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The Memory Key

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  635 ratings  ·  119 reviews
In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.

Lora Mint is determined not to forget.

Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most importantly, the specific events th
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by HarperTeen
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3.28  · 
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 ·  635 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
I really wanted to like this one more than I did. (Well, there's an opening sentence that no one wants to see in a review, hm?) I love the topic of memory in general, and I love thinking about how our mind works. Sadly, this one fell short for me in more ways than one. It wasn't all negative though, so...

What Worked For Me:
-I liked that the family relationship was featured heavily. Lora has to deal with the death of her mother, her tense relationship with her father, and even an aunt in governme
Kathy Martin
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a science fiction story which takes place in a future United States. Since the outbreak of Vergets Disease, which is a form of Alzheimer's, most people have been implanted with memory keys which preserve memories. Lora's mother worked for Keep Corp until her death in a car accident five years earlier. Since then it has just been Lora and her absent-minded professor of a father. Lora is still grieving her mother's loss and sad that the memories she had of her mother are fading.

Then she ha
Trish at Between My Lines
This review was originally posted on Between My Lines

I adored the premise of this book.  Memory is such a fascinating subject and the idea that your memories can be manipulated by a devise sent my mind reeling in all directions.  It is such a disturbing and exciting theme that I couldn’t wait to dive into the book.

First Line of The Memory Key by Liana Liu:
“My earliest memory is of my mother.”

My thoughts on The Memory Key by Liana Liu:

I think I was a little too hyped up entering the book.  No
The Memory Key is set in the future where everyone has a memory key, a chip that wards off Alzheimer's-like Vergets disease. When our MC, Lora, has a memory key damaged in an accident she starts to remember everything, even the night before her mother's car accident. As Lora relives more memories she begins to suspect that her mother's accident was no accident at all.

This was a really quick read for me. I really liked the plot of the story, but it was sort of lacking for me. The author does a go
Mar 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
I had to stop reading because it was so badly written I wanted to die. And the author has an MFA in fiction writing, which is just further proof that getting an MFA doesn't mean you can write well. And not only was the writing terrible and repetitive, but the characters and setting were generic and the dialogue was awkward. It's really sad because it sounded like a fairly interesting premise. Oh well.
Sep 11, 2014 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: 2015-releases
DNF at 30%

Nope cannot deal with this. Way too fast paced and felt like I was reading a diary. Too many thoughts, not interested in the whole mother disappearance mystery thing going on. blah.
Dark Faerie Tales
Jul 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed-by-zed
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: Yet another dystopian read centered on a corrupt government with hidden agendas.

Opening Sentence: My earliest memory is of my mother.

The Review:

When reading The Memory Key, I was reminded of the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver. In Delirium, love is considered a disease so everyone over 18 must be immunised against it. It is essentially a way for those in power to control the general public’s minds. Similarly, in this story, the government /

The Memory Key is a Young Adult book set approximately 60 years in the future. It reads like a contemporary YA mystery, with only one main difference from the present (the invention of the memory key).

This device (the memory key) is implanted in toddlers (although it can be done at any age) to prevent Vergets disease (a viral form of Alzheimer's). The memory key is a chip embedded in the brain.

The narrator is Lora Mint who has just graduated from high school. Her best friend is Wendy. Lora's mot
Set in middle America, about a soon-to-be-college girl dealing with her mother's death (5 years earlier) as she is flooded by unexpectedly intense memories due to a faulty internal memory device. POC author, and while it's never stated the characters are POC, I totally assumed they were, and that was awesome!

I love that this is not a trilogy. I love that Lora is actually okay with her mother's death until she can't be because of her memory key. I love that there are responsible, complicated adu
Aug 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
DNF at 29%

I really enjoy books about memory, so I was pretty excited about this one. It just didn't work out for me.

Lora's inner monologue is really odd. She sounds much younger than she's supposed to be. The sections I read with her BFF Wendy were borderline annoying. Wendy comes across and extremely vapid and the only topic of conversation between the girls that I read had to do with who Lora was going to date.

My main complaint was that there were several flashbacks, but no indication that i
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 Read as digital ARC.

The Memory Key was an absolute delight to read. It's not a book, it's an experience. The writing is in first person, and it has this off-kilter feeling--you know something's going on, but you can't tell what it is. I was especially impressed with how certain things were handled. Liu had thought things through a step further than I might have, and I appreciated the detail and effort.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I haven't watched Doctor Who in years but I had to use this to describe how I feel right now.
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Disclaimer: I have not provided evidence to back up my claims and I apologize for this. (My English teachers would be so disappointed).

The Memory Key was a book that I was looking forward to reading but it didn’t meet my expectations. To sum it all up, I liked the focus on family but I thought The Memory Key was an okay read that didn’t leave a significant impact on me.

In terms of the characters, I was
Jul 10, 2014 marked it as dnf
Shelves: 2015, arc-edelweiss
DNF at 57%

This got bad so quickly and at this point I just knew I couldn't continue any longer because I wasn't enjoying it at all. It was fine at the beginning and easy to digest but it moved at such a slow pace. There is progression of the main plot but it never felt like the main focus and it kept shifting to Lora's love life or other completely unrelated matters.

The writing was subpar and unimpressive. There was chunks of superfluous details that served no purpose and ruined the flow.

I wa
First of all, thank you to the author and goodreads for providing me with a free copy of The Memory Key.

There is a lot to love in this book. An awesome main character (who even works in a library! How cool is that?). A plot with twists that kept me guessing and occasionally gasping out loud. Awesome use of flashbacks. A sort of near-future dystopian setting that raises all sorts of questions about privacy.

But I think my favourite part of the book was the whole memory loss thing.

So, the premise o
So, I'm going to start off with one of the maybe better aspects of the book: the world building. The world building was okay, but not really something that was explored as much as I would have liked. Then again, I'm quite a harsh world building critic, and I have seen a fair few people commenting that they found the world building pretty good, so who knows. In any case, this wasn't really something that was focused on in the book, but there were other things that drew my attention away from this ...more
Mar 07, 2015 rated it liked it
The Memory Key has definitely been my most intriguing read so far this year. Set in the unknown future, Lora Mint has just graduated high school and can’t wait to enjoy summer break before college starts back up in the fall. It has been five years since her mother was in an accident that took her life, and now Lora is having troubles remembering the small stuff about her mom. Then one day Lora runs into a former teacher, who later almost gets into an accident, but luckily for the teacher Lora ru ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Memory Key is unlike anything I’ve read before.

It is a Dystopian, but it doesn’t feel like a dystopia. It’s as if it could be happening in your town, with your family and friends.

As much as it is science fiction, it’s equally real. And this type of dystopia, the more believable one, scares the daylights out of me.

This world in The Memory key, a future world where a progressive form of Alzheimer’s has spread throughout most of the population and is only controlled with a device implanted insi
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

This was an interesting sci-fi story about the dangers of messing with people’s memories.

Lora was an okay character, although she seemed to maybe tell people things that she maybe shouldn’t. This could have been attributed to the fact that she had no idea how sensitive information was though, and what it could do in the wrong hands. If you don’t realise that there’s somethin
My thanks to HarperTeen

Point of View: Single (Lora)
Writing: First Person | Present Tense
Setting: Middleton
Genre: Young Adult | Science Fiction

The storyline was intriguing, and overall, it was very refreshing. I enjoyed the book a lot; however, the last few chapters sort of fell flat. I'm not sure because I wasn't paying close attention in the first place, but I fo
Nicole Jacob
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, favorites
What an interesting read this was. This was just slightly enough mystery to keep me reading and just within the scope of reality that I wasn't turned off by it.

The one thing that I really enjoyed was the sense of realness - even with a fake disease and a slightly futuristic solution, it still felt very real. There were times during the two weeks I was reading (the bulk) this book when I'd get a headache (not from the book itself) and I actually had a very fleeting thought that perhaps my memory
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this, because the premise is inventive + I love it when more Asian writers enter the mainstream publication scene.

However, the writing in this needs work. Much of the dialogue and descriptions feel stilted and unnatural at times, and I had a hard time getting through the ARC.

I sincerely, sincerely hope that between now and publication day, the author and her editor go back and make another pass at the book. I WANT this book to be amazing.
Maureen McCormack
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Posting a review now on my blog
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great contemporary YA book. I recommend it to Middle School students who are into edge-of-your-seat books.
old account (rl)
1.5 stars

There are some books that you just cannot connect with, no matter how much you try. Sadly The Memory Key is one I'll have to add to that list. No matter how much I tried to get into this story, to make myself care about the whiny brat of a MC, I couldn't. The city could have blown up in the end and killed off every last character but I probably would still have been yawning, desperately trying to muster up a few scraps of emotions to pretend like I gave a damn.

I never quite understood
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Going into this book, I was very intrigued by the plot, but after reading it, I'm so torn. I enjoyed the book, but I'm nowhere near satisfied. I feel like more could have been written about the aftermath. It feels all unfinished. That there is so much more to be explored. Not only that, but I feel the book is underdeveloped as well. I wasn't expecting much from the book, but a little more than what was given.

The characters really didn't flow with each other. They were all just kinda there. I was
Daniella Roccasalvo
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, sci-fi
This one was better than I was expecting, given all the somewhat negative/blah reviews out there. I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and the fast-paced writing, and I thought it was overall a fairly good one of its type. Dystopian YA is definitely overdone, but this one focused more on relationships between the characters than some, and I thought the relationships between the characters were fairly interesting and generally made sense. I’m also not bothered by the kind of romance generally foun ...more
Zoe Wynns
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Okay. First off, I had pretty high standards for this book. It seemed like the perfect mix of dystopia, sci-fi, and mystery. And it was good, don't get me wrong. It was very good. I just expected to like it more. Maybe the confusing writing style was what made it a little weird for me. Maybe it was the pointless romantic side stories that seemed to take away from the book instead of adding. And maybe I was frustrated with the stupidity and insensitivity of the main character. Anyhow, interesting ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was something I wouldn't normally read, but I ended up enjoying the book. The plot had a unique twist to it and I can honestly say I haven't found a book that is similar to this one.

I would recommend this book to anyone and don't have any negative comments about it except layup on the kissing a bit.
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Liana Liu was born and raised in New York City, and lives there still. She received her MFA in fiction writing from the University of Minnesota.
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