Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

I Know You Remember

Rate this book
Jennifer Donaldson is back with another twisted thriller perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Gone Girl.

Zahra Gaines is missing.

After three long years away, Ruthie Hayden arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to this devastating news. Zahra was Ruthie's best friend--the only person who ever really understood her--and she vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Zahra vanished from a party just days before Ruthie's return, but the more people she talks to, the more she realizes that the Zahra she knew disappeared long before that fateful night. Gone is the whimsical, artistic girl who loved books and knew Ruthie's every secret. In her place is an athlete, a partier, a girl with secrets of her own. Darker still are the rumors that something happened to Zahra while Ruthie was gone, something that changed her forever...

As Ruthie desperately tries to piece together the truth, she falls deeper and deeper into her friend's new world, circling closer to a dangerous revelation about what Zahra experienced in the days before her disappearance--one that might be better off buried.

In her stunning follow-up to Lies You Never Told Me, Jennifer Donaldson once again delivers a propulsive thriller with a masterful twist, skillfully creating a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

326 pages, Hardcover

First published October 8, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jennifer Donaldson

2 books270 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
733 (24%)
4 stars
1,259 (42%)
3 stars
731 (24%)
2 stars
213 (7%)
1 star
59 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 548 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,126 reviews39.2k followers
April 11, 2022
Four mind bending, I didn’t see it coming, she really fooled me so bad, didn’t she, dammit, this is one of the underrated, amazing books of the year, giving a big applause for original and creative writing stars!

Oh nooo! I’m not only April’s Fool because I was born April 1st, I ‘m the biggest fool of the year (I already ordered t-shirts with this motto printed on.) I can hear the author’s evil laughs, having so much fun to see me on the floor because of her final sucker punch! She killed my spider senses and wrote a surprising, twisty, edgy, fast pacing YA story!

Of course I’m not gonna blurt out spoilers! I don’t want any death wish, threatening phone calls, unexpected pranks (actually they all performed by my sister-in law, after I sent her voice messages about spoilers of her favorite TV series but I had no bad intention. I just wanted to share my enthusiasm about how the writers did a great job!)

The story starts with funeral of Ruthie’s mother. Depressed and introvert Ruthie moves back to Alaska to live with her ex alcoholic and new religious, conservative father and his new family (step mother and step sister) in her hometown Alaska. But as soon as she moves back, she realizes her estranged best friend Zahra is missing and nobody has any clue about her whereabouts.

Ruthie befriends with Zahra’s social circle to learn more about her last 4 years after she left the city because of her parents’ divorce. She realizes her friend turned into a different person who has secrets, suffering from panic attacks, thinking that she deserves to be punished. So Ruthie starts to get suspicious from everyone’s motives and starts her own investigation because she still thinks she is the one who really knows real Zahra and she is adamant to bring her back.

But throughout her search, she finds Zahra’s cracked phone covered in Zahra’s blood. Did something happen to her? Is she still alive? Another girl from the neighborhood is also missing but nobody cared to start a search for her whereabouts.


Good characterization, stunning story-telling and remarkable, thrilling, mind bending ending! I LOVED THAT! Ending is another harsh slap against your cheeks so wear something to protect your face before reading this book, better safe than sorry!!Cannot wait to read the other works of this author!

Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
610 reviews480 followers
March 12, 2021
When it comes to ya books, I usually go for contemporary or fantasy, but rarely do I chose mystery/thriller.
I Know You Remember was sent to me as pre-approved Netgalley widget, and as soon as I read it’s premise, I knew I had to give it a try.
I am so thankful it appeared in my email because otherwise I wouldn’t give it too much attention. If I’m being honest, when I first saw it, I thought it was a part of the series, when in reality, it is a standalone.

Since I Know You Remember is a mystery/thriller, I think it would be the best to know as little about it as possible, so I will try to keep my review short, because I don’t want to ruin your reading experience.

The story takes place in Alaska, and I really enjoyed that aspect. I could really imagine myself there along with Ruthie, but I have to stress out that I know little about that country and can’t say if the representation of the place/people in it were accurate.

This book also talks about race and how POC are treated differently, but without that in-your-face approach.
I really liked that because it covers serious topic, gives you a message but is not aggressive.

Ruthie was an interesting character, I enjoyed being in her head, and that is everything I’ll tell you about her.

The story is written in first person, mostly from Ruth’s perspective.

The writing style is easy going and I flew through this novel. I finished in a day, which is very rare for me.

As for the mystery, I’ll just say that I have guessed one, minor mart of it, but all the other revelations surprised the life out of me!

As I already stated, I don’t usually read ya thrillers, but this book showed me what I’m missing out.
Maybe avid ya thriller readers will not share the same opinion, but to me this book was top.

I highly recommend it! It’s a perfect pick for the fall.

Read this and more reviews on my blog https://bookdustmagic.com
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,063 reviews478 followers
November 3, 2019
What a HUGE disappointment this was.
In fact, I was so outraged I almost tossed the book across the room - but I remembered in the nick of time that it was a library book! Then, I was just grateful that I hadn't spent my own money to buy this book!!!!

Why do I get the feeling that the author (or her editor) had suddenly decided that her original ending didn't work, or wasn't spectacular enough, and suddenly switched the villains around? At any rate, I didn't buy it - at all.

At one point, I was going to back track and check when Bailey went missing - the timelines didn't seem to be matching up, but I actually didn't truly care anymore. Although the writing was good, the storytelling was often excruciatingly sloooow.... Some of the dialogue was also off or unnatural: for example, teens don't usually use the word "feign" when they mean "pretend" when they are conversing with each other.

It boggles my mind why so many gifted writers these days succumb to the temptation of a lurid "twist". I get that some writers and editors want to monetize their readers' insatiable thirst for bigger and better twists. But why on earth did the author concoct such a tortured ending, with such a far-fetched reason for the perpetrators needing to hide the truth all those years? Why knowingly leave a psychopath out there to kill again? Make any sense to you? It didn't to me, that's for sure! The final messed up "rescue scene," the reason for leaving blood on the cell phone - all of those clumsy explanations and excuses certainly didn't work for me. I was livid with the author for insulting her readers' intelligence with such a paltry summation.

Ultimately, the reasoning behind Zahra's disappearance made NO SENSE AT ALL. The author did too good of a job in painting the characters as sympathetically as she did. The sudden plunge into "evil psychopath" was just a bit too much. This story left me feeling ripped off at the expense of a cheap twist. And that sappy, juvenile ending! The prom debacle! Just too syrupy and contrived! I don't know if I have ever felt so betrayed and angry after spending so many hours patiently reading through a story. I was going to rate this a 2.75 out of 5, but I decided to calm down and try to be fair and I reread the last few chapters. It just enraged me even more and I took away another star!
WHAT A RIPOFF!!! I'm so mad!!! Just - baloney!!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for JenacideByBibliophile.
208 reviews126 followers
November 1, 2019
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Penguin Random House, for an honest review.

~* Book Review *~


If this book doesn’t leave you feeling a little unhinged, I don’t know what will.




That was twisted.


It has been three years since Ruthie and her mother left their hometown of Anchorage, Alaska to escape Ruthie’s alcoholic father. But following the sudden death of her mother, Ruthie is being sent back to Anchorage to live with her now sober dad and his new family. Things aren’t all bad though, because Ruthie will finally get to see her best friend Zahra again. Except when Ruthie arrives at her new school, news that Zahra has gone missing is announced, and all signs point to Zahra’s boyfriend. Now, Ruthie puts all her energy into finding Zahra and uncovering what really happened the night she disappeared. But along the way, Ruthie realizes that Zahra isn’t the same girl she knew. Once a thoughtful, creative and timid girl, Zahra’s friends describe her as secretive, sometimes moody, and a big partier. As Ruthie comes closer to finding out the truth, buried secrets are dug up and the horrifying realities are uncovered.

I love nothing more than a story that gives me a physical reaction while reading.

And to say my mouth dropped open, would be a vast understatement to the reality of what shape my face contorted into after this ending.


Though I had a strong suspicion of how this story would turn out, and I was more or less correct in my assumption, I am still SO impressed with how the author kept me questioning my opinion until the very end. I have read one or two books that have a similar twist in them, and the clues as to where the story was shifting was really subtle, but it was all in the characters!

This story is told in the point of view of Ruthie as she comes back to Anchorage and begins searching for Zahra. Though, in the three years that Ruthie has been away, their interactions have been limited. Ruthie reminisces on their time together in the summer before she moved, and how they spent their days devouring books and creating stories where they were the heroines who triumphed over evil. She describes their friendship of one of imagination and creativity, and portrays Zahra as a beautiful and special girl that she was more than lucky to call her best friend. But as Ruthie begins to learn more about who Zahra is now, she begins to discover that she may not be the same girl she once knew.

“Part of me, of course, just wanted to find her. But part of me wanted to find her here. Because that would mean it still matters. That the world we created together is still meaningful to her.”

For most of this book, the reader is learning who Zahra is by how she is described by her friends and family. There are little snippets and trails of information that you can pick up to form a vague portrayal of who she is, but the reader never truly gets an in depth look at her until the end of the book. Because the author chose to keep her shrouded in secrecy, my imagination was going wild the entire time I was reading. Ruthie begins to discover that Zahra has episodes where she will shutdown and not talk to anyone, or where she falls into deep depressions ranting about how she wants to die and that she is a horrible person. Which instantly makes you think, did she run away?

Each of these characters has the right amount of detail to make you feel like you know them, but just enough mystery to make you question each expression and action. One of my favorite things about thrillers is that it makes me pause my reading to decipher what is going on, where I think the clues will lead, and who I think is guilty of what. But the clues in I Know You Remember are so faint and expertly entwined into the words and mannerisms of these beautiful characters, that you’ll miss it all if you blink even once.

The backdrop for this mystery is really what seals the deal for me and brings in the creep factor. Anchorage, Alaska with its beautiful scenery and huge wooded areas make it the perfect location for a young girl to go missing and/or the possibilities of a deranged killer being on the loose. But my favorite aspect of all, was the abandoned playground that Zahra and Ruthie had claimed as their territory for that magical summer three years prior. Rusted play structures, a lonely swing-set and a place they could create their magical stories and let their imaginations run wild.


Of course...it gets much creepier toward the end of the book...*cough cough*.

I REALLY wish I could say more and give out every spoiler this is, because it is killing me keeping it all bottled up! This story is twisted, manipulative, secretive, and will make you question more than just where Zahra went. And best yet, I just found out that this is a follow-up to Jennifer Donaldson’s other novel Lies You Never Told Me. Obviously I Know You Remember can be read as a standalone (since I just did that) but now I must get my hands on “Lies”, because I need more!

I highly recommend this for readers who are still looking for some spooky reads, because Halloween season is year-round and we aren’t done being weird yet, are we? For those of you who get scared easily, don’t you worry your pretty little heads. This isn’t horror, it’s thriller! You’ll be juuustttttt fine.

~* Dream Casting *~



Ruthie was pretty hard to pinpoint as far as looks, because there isn't a whole lot of detail surrounding her appearance. I mostly had to go off the cover which only shows the back of her, and I just let my imagination do the rest.

My top pick is the beautiful Taissa Farmiga.


If you're like me and love American Horror Story, then you would have fallen in love with Taissa in the first season. She is aloof and slightly mysterious, but has just the right amount of innocence and allure to pull you in - Just like Ruthie.

My other two picks for Ruthie were Kaitlyn Dever and Maude Apatow.



Kaitlyn Dever has proven her wide range of acting skills over the years, and there is something about her that makes me think she can switch her personality from sweet to horrific in .02 seconds.

Maude Apatow is a newer to the acting scene, but the little I have seen from her - I LOVE! I would be so interested to see how she'd make Ruthie come to life, and to be honest, I think she would absolutely kill it.



Zahra is also another tough character to pinpoint on looks, because her description is also on the more vague side. So again, this is my going off of the cover and the very little information I was given while reading.

I had a few picks for Zahra, but it always came back to Riele Downs.


I just can't get over how stunning this girl is! Zahra is described as a girl that people seem to be drawn to. Someone that is easy to confide in and trust, and who is beautiful inside and out. Riele Downs exudes that perfect amount of confidence and friendliness that I think would be perfect for Zahra.


Tabitha's character is an interesting mix of bitchy mean girl and really devoted friend, so it was a challenge finding the right person to portray here. So, I've narrowed it down to two raidant reheads!



Ellie Bamber and Rosie Day are not only stunning with that red hair, but they also have a sharp edge to their looks that make you want to be careful around them. Tabitha comes off as a snippy, bitchy and fierce character most of the time, but when it comes down to it - girl is a little gem!

Ben Peavy

Ben is described as having Native heritage, dark eyes, a full mouth, and black hair that is short on the sides and longer on top. For some reason though, there is a very small pool of young Native actors to choose from.

So I had to get creative for this one...

I give you, Vito Basso.


Pretty sure this beautiful specimen is a model and not an actor, but c'mon...we could convince him to switch careers, couldn't we?

Seb Collins

Immediately, and I mean immediately after Seb was described, two people popped into my head. First was the majorly talented Timothée Chalamet, who I just adore to pieces.

Timothée ticks off every box there is for the pale, skinny, sharp feature description..but he is also a little too clean-cut for this character.

But you know who would have been perfect?!

The late, amazing, wonderful Anton Yelchin.


Seb is described as a little shaggy and scruffy, and Anton Yelchin was definitely able to play this part. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago, which is positively tragic, because he was an immensely talented actor.

Bailey Sellers

Bailey is one of the youngest pivotal characters in this book, and is described as being a poor and skinny fourteen-year-old girl who is physically abused at home. She is fast and has a bit of a temper, but at the end of the day, she is just a lonely little girl looking for a friend.

My pick for Bailey is the oober talented Mckenna Grace.


This girl astounds me every time I see her in a movie. She is versatile and immediately grabs your attention! Her as Bailey is a no-brainer!!
Profile Image for Josiah.
3,211 reviews145 followers
January 19, 2021
Authors are products of their era, and that's certainly the case for Jennifer Donaldson here; the pop culture references and slightly edgy tone of I Know You Remember identify it as a YA novel of the late 2010s. Becoming an author in that time period wasn't easy; an unprecedented supply of manuscripts from aspiring writers meant your book really had to stand out in order to land a contract. At this early stage in Jennifer Donaldson's career, she accomplished that by conveying a chilling sense that something unidentifiable is amiss as the story progresses, and probably won't turn out well in the end. I Know You Remember begins only days after seventeen-year-old Ruthie Hayden's mother fell to her death at the Columbia River Gorge. Ruthie and her mother moved to Portland, Oregon from Anchorage, Alaska three years ago to distance themselves from Ruthie's alcoholic father, but now Ruthie must return to live with him, his new wife, and stepdaughter. Ruthie resents her father for the years of awful treatment toward her that at times bordered on abuse, but she looks forward to seeing Zahra Gaines, her best friend in Anchorage. The girls used to write fantasy stories and imagine worlds of their own together, and Ruthie needs a creative escape like that now. She's still numb over her mother's death, unable to emotionally connect to the tragedy, but Ruthie hopes reuniting with Zahra is just the therapy she needs.

"Darkness is like that. It can make you tired and sad, or it can make the bright spots stick out even more."

I Know You Remember, P. 8

Since Ruthie left Anchorage three years ago, her father has quit drinking and put together a decent life. Brandy, his wife, is also a reformed substance abuser, so Ruthie's stepsister Ingrid understands having a troubled parent. Ingrid is Ruthie's age and seems friendly, decorating Ruthie's new basement bedroom as a surprise; Ingrid is happy to have a sister, but Ruthie isn't sure she fits in with her father's new family. They attend church at Victory Evangelical, whose conservative message rubs Ruthie the wrong way. Maybe her father needs strict religion to keep him on the straight and sober path, but if that sort of austerity appeals to Brandy and Ingrid, Ruthie might not be their kind of girl. At least she can get excited about seeing Zahra; before flying to Alaska she text messaged her the news of her imminent return, but hasn't received a reply, which is odd. Within a few days she learns the reason for Zahra's silence.

Zahra is nowhere to be found. No one gave it a second thought when she left a local teen party after heatedly arguing with Ben Peavy, her boyfriend, but it's been days since anyone saw her, and the police declare her missing. Ruthie is distraught, but as she integrates back into the Anchorage school system after three years' absence, she learns the type of person Zahra has become by getting to know her new friends. Is her head still in the clouds? Does she make friends effortlessly as she used to? Ruthie was always withdrawn, prickly with people she doesn't know and jealous of Zahra's other friendships, but Zahra had a light heart and easy manner...until the past few years. Her best friend Tabitha and boyfriend Ben describe a moody, opaque version of Zahra, whose behavior can be enigmatic. Now a criminal probe is underway into her disappearance, and Ben is suspect number one. Like Zahra, he's a member of the school's cross country running team, a prominent local athlete. Would he harm Zahra if she made him angry?

No one fully realizes how much Ruthie depended on Zahra to cope with the trauma of her father's drinking, and she won't let the police get away with a halfhearted investigation. Tabitha reminds Ruthie in some ways of a girl named Bailey Sellers who used to live at the trailer park in Anchorage; she was Zahra's closest friend before Ruthie, but then Bailey became a third wheel and faded away. Seb Collins is another kid they knew, even if Ruthie barely recognizes him today; he's hostile toward her, though she's not sure why. Might he be involved in Zahra's disappearance? Ruthie won't leave any lead unexplored as days whoosh by and Zahra's odds of survival grow dim. Ruthie is on the brink of panic; she refuses to believe her friend is dead.

From the first pages, it's obvious there are layers to this mystery. Ben quarreled with Zahra at the party over rumors that she was having secret meetings with another boy, but who is this boy? Police interrogate Ben relentlessly, in sessions that stretch for many hours at a time. He's convinced they suspect him in part due to racial animus; part Alaskan native, Ben is frustrated that a lifetime of decent behavior on his part is so easily forgotten. Ruthie grows to like him, but can't be sure he's not hiding a dark side. Is he capable of psychotic violence? Ruthie loathes attending church at Victory Evangelical, but it turns out there's a connection to Zahra: pastor Dale Worthen is her maternal grandfather. Zahra's mother left the church in adulthood and no longer speaks to the Worthens, but a few years ago Zahra decided to live with them for a while, a choice that puzzled her parents. Judging by his stern sermons and demeanor, Dale Worthen doesn't seem the type of grandfather that a free spirit like the Zahra of old would be drawn to, but her personality has changed, according to all accounts. Was her temporary interest in religion an aspect of the new Zahra Gaines? Alaska has its share of drug crime and wild animal attacks, so Zahra's disappearance may have nothing to do with any of the suspicious people in her life, but Ruthie feels sure one of them is the culprit. If what befell Zahra is random, then Ruthie is powerless to save her, and she can't accept that. She has to be the one who rescues Zahra.

As Ruthie struggles adjusting to her new life in Anchorage, she gradually pieces together the recent history that presaged Zahra's dark change in character. Zahra's personal life is a minefield, and Ruthie is attempting to tiptoe through without getting blown to bits. There's no preparing us for the shock of what led Ruthie and Zahra down the sordid path they're on; we don't know half the rage, jealousy, and resentment simmering in Anchorage like a volcano beneath the snow, but when it erupts, the lava will engulf Ruthie, Zahra, and their friends and family in scalding carnage. The secret history behind it all may destroy every last one of them.

What impresses me most about I Know You Remember is the plot twists, skillfully articulated for maximum impact. However, the story is also thematically rich. Ruthie has plenty of issues: is her father truly a changed man? Can she trust him to take care of her as his addiction prevented him from doing when she was a child? Should she treat Brandy and Ingrid like family, or are they poor substitutes for the mother who died at the Columbia River Gorge? Is their commitment to religion genuine, or are they hypocrites? Brandy and Ingrid have both drunk deeply of life's bitterness, and understand at least some of Ruthie's angst. Anchorage is full of hurt, lost individuals; the ugly scars from past misdeeds never completely go away, but broken people can heal with the help of others. It's your only chance of feeling whole again after trauma rocks your world...and by the end of this novel, that message rings hauntingly true.

Sinister and surprising, I Know You Remember has a near-brilliant crescendo, reminiscent of legendary YA novelist Robert Cormier. Multiple times you'll think you've figured out what kind of story this is, and you'll be wrong; Jennifer Donaldson has a knack for lulling readers into a false sense of complacency. Her storytelling discipline isn't perfect—the author's acrimony toward Christianity seems to assume that true believers are badly motivated, and a few of the characters are preoccupied with seeing themselves as victims of racial or gender discrimination with no evidence to support it—but I'd strongly consider rating I Know You Remember the full three stars. It's superior YA fiction, and Jennifer Donaldson is an author to be reckoned with. To pull off a story like this one to such a high degree of success is a rare feat.
Profile Image for Frank Phillips.
494 reviews243 followers
December 17, 2019
5 Stars because it's incredibly hard for a YA thriller to surprise me, and that's just what the reveal in this story did! Wowza!! Talk about unexpected! I have never read Donaldson before, and I've always said Kara Thomas is my very favorite YA thriller writer, but if every Donaldson book is as good as this one, Thomas has some competition! I'm not going to spoil anything because I think it's best you go into this not knowing very much at all, but the title of this one is clever in itself. I will just leave it at that.
Profile Image for Brithanie Faith.
258 reviews164 followers
May 28, 2019
4/5 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson is an upcoming YA thriller hitting the shelves this October! It follows Ruthie Hayden as she arrives in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, after three years- only to discover that her closest friend Zahra has gone missing. As Ruthie pieces together the truth of Zahra's disappearance she slowly comes to the realization that the Zahra she knew is no longer the same person she once was, and the truth of what happened in the days leading up to her disappearance might be better off staying buried.

This book is said to be perfect for fans of One Of Us Is Lying and Sadie-and I have to say- I completely agree! I truly believe this is one that can be enjoyed by those starting out in the genre, and those who've been enjoying thriller's for a while. The twist's in this were incredible, and while there were certain things that I was able to predict- that didn't lessen my enjoyment any.

I've since added Jennifer's other work (Lies You Never Told Me) to my TBR, and I look forward to seeing what else she comes up with in the future!
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,283 reviews217 followers
September 20, 2020
Holy I didn’t see that coming, Batman.

I thought I was reading one book for the first 80% of I KNOW YOU REMEMBER. I has suspects and theories that made sense to me.

Ruthie is a sympathetic narrator, reeling from the accidental death of her mother, now lives in Alaska with her recently sober father, his new wife and her same age stepsister. Ruthie’s best friend Zahra goes missing and Ruthie sets out to solve the mystery and bring Zahra home.

Jennifer Donaldson kept me glued to my kindle all afternoon in a way I haven’t been able since falling down steps, suffering a head injury and breaking my clavicle. I wasn’t able to read for a few days and afterwards only for short intervals. I KNEW YOU REMEMBER cured me! Now if Donaldson could publish a new book by the end of the week, when I’m recovering from surgery to fix my collarbone, I’d be grateful.

ETA: the audiobook is phenomenal as well.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books326 followers
May 15, 2020
Whelp. Jennifer Donaldson knows how to craft a twisty, utterly delightful YA thriller/mystery. I’m going to keep this review short and sweet, because I don’t want to give away anything, but suffice it to say, this book kept me guessing, and kept the twists coming all the way to the end. Ruth left Anchorage years ago when her parents split up. But after her mother’s death, she’s forced to return to move back in with her father and stepmother. She’s looking forward to reuniting with her former best friend, Zara, but the weekend she’s arriving home, Zara goes missing. Really. Awesome. Mystery. Nuff said!

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Howard.
1,115 reviews66 followers
March 15, 2023
4 Stars for I know You Remember (audiobook) by Jennifer Donaldson read by Grace Experience.

I love reading books that are set in places that I’ve visited. This one is set in Anchorage, Alaska and it takes me back to the time my wife and I were there. I can picture the streets as the story unfolds. I enjoyed the story and it has a great set of characters.
Profile Image for Melissa (So Far Behind!).
4,520 reviews1,726 followers
October 10, 2019
3.5 stars
Decent YA book. Wasn't sure where it was going at first, and then I got irritated with the direction I thought the book was going. Great twist made me happy and elevated this book away from the run-of-the-mill mystery.
Ruthie is an intriguing character. It normally bugs me when a character inserts themselves into a police investigation, but this felt natural for the story. I really loved the way things concluded with the book and how everything wrapped up. I'm trying to be circumspect because I don't want to give spoilers.
I liked that the author touched on some different issues, such as race, poverty, and addiction without making them central "issues" as sometimes can happen. They seemed very organic to the story and created more understanding without feeling preachy. The religious aspects however...those were what made me rate this book down a bit. I realize that there are churches/pastors out there with beliefs like this book, but I have personally never seen them in my experiences with Christianity. I feel that this book gives a horrible look at one person's fire and brimstone views, and if I had gone to the church during the pastor's rant about beating your children I would have stood up and walked out. I can't believe that everyone just blindly followed him no matter what he spewed. This was the one aspect of this tale that I thought was too over the top and caricatured rather than based on reality.
This is a fast-paced read and if you like YA mysteries like One of Us is Lying, you'll definitely want to choose to read this one.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
1,072 reviews3 followers
September 29, 2019
Last minute plot twists and unreliable narrators are my least favorite devices.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
577 reviews
August 16, 2019
1) The main reason I read this book is because it takes place in Alaska.
2) The second reason is because I loved Jennifer Donaldson's previous work "Lies You Never Told Me".

I'm going to discuss the most important thing to me here-Alaska-before moving on to the actual story. I'm not sure if the author has visited Alaska, but there was a major geographical error when Ruth and Ben decide not to tell anyone that they're ditching town to drive four hours away to search for Zahra at an abandoned campground. They never verify where they are going until a few pages later: Girdwood. Ruth says it takes over four hours to get to there from Anchorage. That is false. Depending on your location in Anchorage, it can take 45-55 minutes to arrive in Girdwood.

Lake Shosubenich is supposedly located in Girdwood. It's not. It's nowhere near Girdwood. You don't even drive through Girdwood to reach the lake. There isn't a way to reach the lake from Girdwood unless you drive to Anchorage, up through Wasilla, and then east. Lake Shosubenich is about 3.25 hours away from Anchorage. So I guess Ruth and Ben decided to drive to Girdwood just to backtrack and drive to Lake Shosubenich which would verify their over four hour drive, but in reality it's absurd.

I knew what happened to Zahra from the beginning and suspected the twist. Nothing happened until 47% except Ruth getting to know Zahra's friends and everyone getting drunk. There wasn't any mystery or suspense. I was very disappointed in this read, and I wish the author had included more details on this beautiful state instead of adding in unnecessary scenes of underage drinking.

Thanks Edelweiss for the ARC.
Profile Image for Zoë ☆.
894 reviews180 followers
January 11, 2020
OMG WHAT THAT PLOTTWIST WAS INSANE 😂😱 My heart is still pounding writing this review. So goooood!!! This was such an interesting and also quick read, I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a good YA mystery! 🙌🏻
Profile Image for ThatBookGal.
668 reviews88 followers
October 17, 2019
I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed this one, I've only recently got into reading YA Thriller's, and so far, most of them have missed the mark a little bit. I Know You Remember was fairly gripping, and I was intrigued to find out what had happened to Zahra from the outset, even during the quieter, teenage drinking moments.

Ruth was an interesting character, sent back to Alaska to live with her dad after a tragic accident claimed her mothers life. The less said about Ruth and the mystery of Zahra the better really, as the whole thing is much better going in blind. There are plenty of interesting characters along the way, and you find yourself scrutinising each one, to find what motivates them and what they know about Zahra. Most intriguing is Zahra herself, who seems to have about 300 personalities.

I absolutely adored the setting of Alaska, which is a completely alien landscape to me. This is the second book that I've read set there, and both times, I felt the setting was almost the best character in the book. It really worked perfectly as a slightly creepy, isolated backdrop to the mystery, with about a million possibilities.

I also loved that race is explored throughout the book. We're often reminded of how different characters may be treated by society, due to differences in their race and heritages. It's done in a gentle, and honest way, and doesn't preach it's message. But it's still able to pack a punch and remind us of the injustice in the world.

I thought the ending was pretty great, with a suitable twist that I only partially guessed. It's a clear 4 star read from me, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys the genre.

*** Thank you to the publisher for providing an e-arc in exchange for an honest review! ***
Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,374 reviews233 followers
September 30, 2019
When she was 14, Ruthie's mother relocated them for a "fresh start". Following her mother's death, three years later, Ruthie was returning to Alaska, and to her best friend, Zahra. However, upon her arrival, she learned that Zahra had disappeared, which prompted Ruthie to initiate her own search for her best friend, and she was not giving up until Zahra was found.

Donaldson probed a few interesting ideas in this story, and wrapped them up nicely into a satisfying and suspenseful read. She explored ideas pertaining to Christianity, fading friendships, reuniting with estranged parents, life with an addicted parent, poverty, and neglect, and I thought they were woven well into this tale, none of which, curtailed the tension, that was slowly building from the beginning of the story.

Donaldson gently waded us into this story, and she slowly, laid out the pieces of this puzzle. Ruthie's emotions and actions sort of matched that pace. She started by playing along with the investigators, however, as more time passed, she started taking more and more of this search into her own hands, until her emotions and actions were both veering into reckless territory. I thought the pace built nicely, and peaked in such a way that accentuated the first big plot twist.

Speaking of twists, I really thought I had this whole thing figured out. I was wearing my super-smug grin, and nodding along, when one detail was divulged, but then the story took a turn I was NOT expecting at all. In hindsight, the clues were there, but I just didn't make that leap. Following that reveal, I started backtracking, and another of my new suspicions was confirmed. This really prompted me to look at things in a different light.

I had a love/hate thing going with the ending. The decisions Donaldson made for some of the characters were quite interesting. Some made me really happy, while others left me wanting. If I see the word "epilogue", I just have high expectations, and they were not met. Despite that, I rather enjoyed this thriller, which had some great twists, and even left my jaw dropping.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for 여리고.
71 reviews216 followers
April 17, 2020
5 stars for your sophomore YA novel, Ms. Donaldson.

I loved how this book knocked the hell out of me! It was super intriguing, full of twists and turns I never saw coming and that were definitely not in my long list of expectations, with so many red herrings hither and thither I lost count of possibilities I had developed whilst running over its chapters.

There were times I was so close to putting this book aside because of Ruthie and her galling and infuriating voice but then suddenly, I understood everything. Trust me, you would know if you could just give this beautifully crafted literary piece a shot. I, for one, was deeply caught blindsided having known hardly the extent to what every human being is capable of doing when certain situations arise.

I had managed to consolidate a list of things that might be and form them into the most possible and credible theory as I saw it but neither that said wild speculation nor my list of seemingly slight conjectures happened to fall in any one of those veracious boxes Ms. Donaldson concocted. I was utterly manipulated and made to believe I was on the right track when I really wasn't.

But later on I figured there were quite a few details mentioned and signs hinted at leading to that kind of denouement that I failed to take into account. Only then did I realize I must have missed a lot of key points that by then I merely considered as inconsequential.

I can only coax you into reading this brilliant narrative for your own sake and I guarantee you will be frightened by what you will unearth along the way. That is one thing to describe how much thrilling this book is and another on how this piece will yield a perturbing yet potent effect on how you will soon see things on your own perspective.
Profile Image for emma (Warner’s Version).
110 reviews48 followers
September 25, 2021

this is a mystery thriller so I don’t want to spoil it therefore I will keep this review short.

I thought I only figured out one tiiiiny bit of the story but towards the end I threw all my previous info out the window because this is TWISTY like TWISTY TWISTY just stop whatever your doing and read it.
I would have finished it in one sitting if it weren’t for the amount of homework I had buuut yea read it now.
Profile Image for Nicole (FearYourEx).
378 reviews62 followers
October 24, 2019
I don't even know what else to say. When trying to decipher this whodunit I didn't even cone close, not even a little bit. HIGHLY recommend if you want a thriller to blindside you.
Profile Image for Angela Staudt.
373 reviews107 followers
November 15, 2019
First off, I wanted to read this because I still remember reading Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson, and the ending had me shook. I remember just sitting there with my mouth agape wondering what in the hell I just read. Sadly, this book just didn’t live up to the author’s first book.

I was honestly bored throughout this whole book, not to mention I figured out this big “twist” like 20% into the book. I was hoping I was wrong, because if that was to be the huge shocker it really wasn’t a plot twist at all. I found the main character to be so annoying, I caught myself rolling my eyes. She was playing the poor me act in about every chapter, and she has such a good family that it was irritating that she was being so mean and childish to everyone.

I felt as if the ending had so many plot holes that left me very unsatisfied. About 70% of this book had no suspense, and I wasn’t dying to know what happened to Zahra since she went missing. The ending just didn’t seem realistic to me at all, and it happened in about .2 seconds and then done. The end. I am just left feeling disappointed more than anything. I was expecting a crazy mind-bending thriller, and I did not get that at all.
Profile Image for Ekaterina.
71 reviews
March 23, 2021
В целом мне книга понравилась, хоть и были моменты, странные для меня. Маниакальная зацикленность Рут на Захре, преследование подруги. Что очень странно, хоть я и понимаю почему, автор на протяжении всей книги рассказывает очень мало о том времени, когда девочки общались. И понятно из-за случившего три года назад, почему Захра так достаточно странно отреагировала. Рут бы я, на месте суда, отправила не в тюрьму, а в психиатрическую больницу. Девушка настоящая маньячка. Также надеюсь, что приговор Захре будет достаточно мягким, хоть девушка и была соучастницей. Некоторые моменты книги могут не понравится читателям, но в целом, книга хорошая. Я бы с удовольствием прочитала и другие книги автора.
Profile Image for Violet.
7 reviews
January 3, 2020
Lovely prose, good character study, realistic setting and situations, this YA book was set to be the best one I've read in a long time. And then that ending happened and I'm left more than a little disappointed.

The twist is haphazard and so, so disappointingly lazy. The narrator becomes an unreliably narrator and it's done as a sudden 180 flip. You just can't do that if you want a satisfying twist. I really wish this could have been a mystery without needing the M. Night twist at the ending.
Profile Image for Annarella.
10.4k reviews101 followers
September 3, 2019
Even if it's well written I found hard to be interested as nothing happens for nearly half of the book.
Not my cup of tea.
Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Profile Image for Laura Peden.
662 reviews115 followers
January 23, 2021
I’ve been Gone Girl’ed 😱 What a plot twist! For the first half I wasn’t all that impressed but things do turn on a dime and I didn’t see it coming. I have a couple small complaints but overall I had a great time with it. I would go into this book as blind as possible so I’ll just stfu 🤐 highly recommend if you like YA mystery thrillers.
Profile Image for Cheyenne.
150 reviews
December 6, 2019
Holy shit.....wow the quick switch in this book. Wow. I still cannot believe this!!!
Ruthie originally lives in Alaska in a broken home. Her mother ends up leaving and moving them to Oregon leaving behind Zahra, Ruthie’s childhood friend. When ruthies mother dies from a hiking accident ruthie is sent back to Alaska to live with her now sober father and his wife and her daughter. When Ruth gets back she expects to find Zahra and pick up where they left off three years prior but what Ruth doesn’t know is Zahra is missing.
Right up until the ending of this book do I feel sorry for Ruth. Once we find Zahra alive and find out what happened three years prior before Ruth is moved to Oregon do I finally see how complex this book actually is. Holy shit I still cannot believe what I read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ha.
149 reviews
March 6, 2021
I thought this is just an okay thriller. Nothing is significantly special, not a lot happened throughout the story, there were little suspense or twists and turns. But somehow the book still kept me engaged and I was really curious to know what happened to Zahra. I was going to give the book 3 stars but then the twist was thrown and it was so good and creepy, I had to bump the rating up to 4 stars. I loved this twist so much. I think the ending will stuck with me a lot because it was such a remarkable one. This is may not be a super brilliant book but the twist just made it so worth the read!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 548 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.