Rating: 4 / 5
I heard seen REMEMBER ME by Chelsea Bobulski pop up a time or two on my bookstagram feed, so I was pleased to get a copy from my YA Unplugged Book Box along with some other amazing goodies! For a picture of all the box’s contents, see below! I had it in mind as a potential October read given the haunting cover, but the “spooky setting” prompt for last week’s #spookathon sealed the deal!
REMEMBER ME tells a narrative in two time streams. In the modern day, Nell Martin is moving into the Winslow Grand Hotel with her father, their new guest relations manager. Nell has been struggling in the aftermath of her mother’s death. Mental heath counseling has helped her out a lot, but this move has meant leaving her counselor behind. When strange things begin to occur in the hotel like strange writing appearing out of nowhere, cabinets and drawers opening when she’s locked in the bathroom alone, and creepy visions, Nell begins to think it is her mind working against her. Given a job sorting historical documents belonging to the hotel, Nell begins investigating the hotel’s history and some of the strange occurrences begin to make more sense.
The second narrative in the book is that of Lea, a teen who arrived at the hotel in 1905 with her family, meeting up with her fiancee and his family. She doesn’t love this man she has promised her life to, but her family desperately needs the money that this match will bring. While at the hotel Lea meets her true match, but she doesn’t see how she can manage to get a happy ending.
I really enjoyed the way the author wove the two narratives back and forth in alternating chapters. The chapters are short and leave the reader on a lot of cliff hangers which make you eager to read on. Some of the connections between Lea and Nell are made obvious early on, but the reasons why are slowly played out throughout the novel creating a lot of slow burn suspense. I found that the narrative got a bit slow in a few places, but these patches were short lived and the book was always quick to reengage.
Overall this is definitely a book that brought some spooky to the hotel atmosphere. It has been compared to THE SHINING and I can definitely see some similarities, though written for a YA audience. The writing on the wall, visions of a ghostly child running through the halls and a few bloody scenes did put in mind the King classic for me.
Overall I am very glad that this book arrived at my door and I recommend it as a great fall read if you’re looking for something light and spooky!