Rod Serling would be proud. Kate Karyus Quinn’s creepy new YA thriller (Don’t You) Forget About Me is like something right out of your favorite “Twilight Zone” episode. I half expected a Serling-like figure to interrupt the narrative at some point and tell us to: “Imagine a town where no one gets sick. No one ever dies. But paradise comes with a price.” Can’t you just hear that in his voice?
A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.
Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.
Flap copy comparisons to Tuck Everlasting and Stephen King are a good way to describe (Don’t You) Forget About Me, which is like a mix tape of the bizarre, deadly, and delicious. It really did feel as if I was reading the plot of a lost episode of “The Twilight Zone,” and I could easily picture the town of Gardnerville coming to life within my mind’s eye at Quinn’s descriptions.
I was immediately sucked into the mystery of this world, and what made it tick. It’s a surreal place, where most things seem mundane and ordinary, until they don’t. Where nightmares and imagination run wild and deadly.
Skylar is a difficult character to root for, with her meanness, grumpy attitude, and often drug-induced stupor … and yet, she is still compelling. The mystery of her world is so enchanting, that I follow her through each dangerous twist – eager to know what is really going on. And Quinn certainly delivers. At times, the answers seem surprising, unexpected, and bizarre — but they are never disappointing.
(Don’t You) Forget About Me is in stores June 10th.