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The Memory Wall

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  99 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
There’s a fine line between real life and video games in this engrossing novel that’s part Kathryn Erskine’s Mockingbird, part Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls.

Severkin is an elf who slinks through the shadows of Wellhall’s spiraling stone towers, plundering ancient ruins and slaying mystical monstrosities with ease.

He’s also a character in a video game—a character that twel
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
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Jeff Raymond
It was probably about two-thirds through this book that I broke down sobbing on the couch.

My mother has Alzheimer's. I was very close with her, my family moved back home (at great expense both personal and emotional) to help take care of her, and, as I write this, she has been in a nursing home for well over two years after having been given less than half of that to live.

The Memory Wall is about a kid, Nick, having to deal with a similar situation. He's very young and his mother also has Alzhe
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.
I was unsure about this when I read its description. Half A Monster Calls sounded like something I wouldn't want to miss, but also unlikely, or at least like I would possibly be setting myself up for disappointment. Still I went for it. And I'm happy I did.

I find it slightly disturbing because I have this fear that one day I'll suffer from early onset Alzheimer's, and I find the notion quite scary. Otherwise it a wonderful story, very compassionate and believable. I liked it a lot. I
Book Riot Community
The story begins on the day twelve-year-old Nick Reeves and his father take his mom to a new home. Doctors say his mother has early-onset Alzheimers, and apparently Sunrise House can help manage her symptoms. Nick struggles against his mother’s diagnosis, believing that his father and the doctors are going too far. He finds a chance to help her when he starts a new online multi-player game, Wellhall, where he plays a gray elf named Severkin who is a fierce fighter and savvy problem solver. In th ...more
Alice, as in Wonderland
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Julian Valle
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Sep 30, 2016 rated it liked it
A boy in denial about his mother's early onset Alzheimers. Check that strong denial. Double-check that extreme-mind-numbingly-I-will-refuse-to-believe-anything-you-say-denial. But then thats how people hope with that sort of news. There's a double narrative of him playing the video game which does tend to drag on. I started skim it when it started to get too lengthy so I really feel that whole bit could have been skipped. There's also the side aspect of him being mixed which I really liked how t ...more
Ms. Yingling
There are lots of books out that have to do with video games now, but this one is more YA-- off to a slow start, very introspective. I'll stick with Insert Coin to Continue, Slacker, and Pete Baxter Levels Up for middle school.
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Long ago, an author had told me the only difference between YA and adult books was the length of the story. This book is further proof that that is the truth. Though this was a middle grade book, it was outstanding for adult-reader me!

Set in the current time and current world, Nick's mother has early-onset Alzheimer’s. His parents make the (understandable) mistake of trying to hide just how sick she is, which means when she has to be moved to a care facility, Nick doesn't believe she's actually
A touching book that explores the fantasy of childhood mixed with the reality of growing up.

The main character is a middle school boy coping with the watching his mother's descent into Alzheimer's by escaping into a Skyrim-like video game. The chapters alternate between the point of view of Nick and his video game character, Severkin. There are strong analogies between the fantasy world and the real world.

I didn't really know what I was getting into when I started this book. Actually, I had no i
The Keepers of the Books
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
When his mother is put in a long-term care facility for early-onset Alzheimer’s, Nick’s only escape from reality comes in the form of the video game Wellhall. As he plays his character, Severkin, he meets a dark elf who he could swear is his mother. Her mannerisms, speech, and skill reminds is very similar. Unfortuantely, no one in the game uses their real name. Could his mother’s diagnosis be a mistake? Is his mom trying to reach out to him?

The characters in this book are easy to sympathize wi
Lois Haight
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Memory Wall tells the story of Nick, a biracial seventh grade boy who's mother has just entered a memory care facility for early onset Alzheimers. He uses video games as a way to escape from his grief but after awhile the video game seems to start mirroring his real life. This is a beautiful story about family, grief, and legacy told through the lens of a high fantasy video game. Because of the video game element, this book is a mixture of realistic fiction and fantasy. It is suited for stud ...more
Molly Cluff
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I loved the premise of a gamer trying to solve a family mystery inside the game. Some of the storytelling just felt weird to me--like that we got the gaming chapters from Severkin's point of view, so we didn't get to see Nick's reaction to key revelations. Also the gaming chapters just felt like someone's D&D campaign or something--like the author really just wanted to write a fantasy book instead. I did REALLY love the Games Con chapter though. That was the best part for me, because it perf ...more
Cecilia Rodriguez
Twelve year old Nick Lamont is struggling with his mother's diagnosis of early
onset Alzhiemer's and the fact that she has chosen to move into a care facility.
As a way to escape, Nick plays: Wellhall, an online multiplayer game.
While in the game, Nick meets Reunna, and is convinced that she might be
able to help "cure" his mother.
The story has a good message about bullying and dealing with a family member who has
a serious illness.
Sarah W
This was an interesting read on how one teen deals with his mother's diagnosis of early Alzheimer's and her move to a care facility. Part of the story unfolds in an immersive computer game he used to play with his mother. The book also ties in elements of bullying, standing up for one's self and growing up biracial. East Berlin and the fall of the Berlin Wall are also elements in the story.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: byl-crate
This was a "can't put it down" book for me. I was wrapped into the 2 story lines (real life & video game) and so curious how/if/when they would intersect. I could see this book being very difficult for a person with close ties to someone with Alzheimer's.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I simply picked up this book and checked it out of the library by accident.

morale of the story....

Best accident I've ever made.

Brittany Garcia
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
OMG. THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. Audiobook was amazing. My favorite audiobook and book of 2018 and this is my 50th title I've read this year.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I wish it was a little more condensed -- it got sort of slow and faltered a little at the end.
Nov 12, 2016 rated it liked it

The Memory Wall by Lev AC Rosen walks the line between reality and fiction. Nick Reeves is a twelve-year-old boy of mixed races who faces everyday problems like bullying, starting middle school, and making new friends. But he also has a very atypical problem. Nick mom has Alzheimer’s, or at least that is what they tell him. Nick doesn’t believe his mom is forgetting him and tries to convince everyone that it must be something else. But no one believes him
This was an interesting way to present Alzheimer's to young readers. However, I think that there is a definite audience for this book and many readers may not connect with the characters or the gaming aspect of the story.
Nick is a young boy who's mother is leaving home. Not for an adventure or fun, but because she's suffering from early onset Alzheimer's, except Nick thinks everyone is wrong. He sets out to prove that his mom is still there and he's going to use his video game to do it. Convinced that one of the NPCs in the game is actually a real player and his mom, he does whatever he can to try and prove it. When he's not playing the game he's struggling with starting seventh grade with a crazy mom and fighti ...more
Mary Librarian
Interesting plot - early on set Alzheimer and video games. Honestly didn't think it was going to peak my interest but it did.

I think gamers will be drawn into the story.
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: with-my-ears
The Memory Wall
By Lev AC Rosen
Narrated by Prentice Onayemi
Blackstone Audio, 2016

Prentice Onayemi’s subtle character creations intensify the complex life of biracial middle schooler, Nick Reeves, whose mother has moved to a memory care facility due to early-onset Alzheimer’s. Denying the reality of his mother’s illness, Nick takes refuge in a video game, playing the role of Severkin, a gray elf adventurer. Differentiating characters through accent and vocal pitch, Onayemi transitions between Nick
Megan Highfill
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Author Lev Rosen creates a unique reading experience that reads as both realistic fiction and fantasy. The alternating chapters allow the reader to connect to the characters in different ways, though the connections still feel related. Rosen does not assume immaturity or ignorance, portraying his story in an honest and real way. For young readers, the experience is different as Rosen does not skirt the issues or ignore very complex feelings. As usual, I am impressed with Rosen's ability to creat ...more
A boy uses gaming as a means to work through and make sense of his current challenges and circumstances. The author uses a mystery style which worked well and kept me interested. The characters were engaging and relatively complex for a JF novel. The gaming component gave this contemporary story a fun fantasy feel that I enjoyed.
I like JF books that ask the reader to look beyond their own human experience. This story achieves this. I loved how the author took his time to unfold a difficult situ
Dec 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
It's a very compassionate book, and I appreciated that. Everything Nick is dealing with is never trivialized, not even the unthinking racism of some of his classmates. A story like this could have slipped very easily over the line into pathos and saintly moralizing, and it didn't. I also (speaking as a gamer who's been happily tramping through the remastered Skyrim for the last month) really enjoyed the descriptions of the Wellhall game. Mr. Rosen must be a gamer to some degree; he knows how the ...more
4.5 (maybe even 5)

So astounded by this book.

The Memory Wall is incredible: evocative, emotional, and very real feeling. The video game scenes are very visual and easy to follow. My heart hurt for Nick as he navigated his mother's illness and his true belief in misdiagnosis. The characters of his father and his friend Nat are well-rounded and stand out for the very real - if sometimes clumsy - way they handle Nick and his pain. Moments of lightness keep this story from being dark or depressing,
Great Books
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ages-12-14
Twelve-year-old Nick's mother is placed into a home for Alzheimer patients. While Nick searches for clues of a misdiagnosis, he loses himself in the video game of Wellhall as Severkin, an elf who can face down any problem or enemy. Here he meets another gray elf on a quest who seems familiar. Could his real life be colliding with his fantasy world?

Reviewer # 24
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
I loved how Lev wove his story with threads of fantasy and reality. The narrative was very compelling and he dealt with big issues, including: illness, the importance of family and ancestry, race, grief, friendship, loneliness and so much more.

I am always so impressed with Lev's work and this book blew me away. Can't wait to see what he does next ;-)
Lisa Wolf
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow.
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LEV AC ROSEN is the author of books for all ages. Two for adults: All Men of Genius (Amazon Best of the Month, Audie Award Finalist) and Depth (Amazon Best of the Year, Shamus Award Finalist, Kirkus Best Science Fiction for April). Two middle-grade books: Woundabout (illustrated by his brother, Ellis Rosen), and The Memory Wall. His first Young Adult Novel, Jack of Hearts (and other parts) is fort ...more