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The Art of Forgetting

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A moving and insightful debut novel of great friendship interrupted. Can the relationship survive when the memories are gone? Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and e A moving and insightful debut novel of great friendship interrupted. Can the relationship survive when the memories are gone? Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar. And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken. With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program. There, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future. The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and myths that hold us back, and the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.


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A moving and insightful debut novel of great friendship interrupted. Can the relationship survive when the memories are gone? Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and e A moving and insightful debut novel of great friendship interrupted. Can the relationship survive when the memories are gone? Marissa Rogers never wanted to be an alpha; beta suited her just fine. Taking charge without taking credit had always paid off: vaulting her to senior editor at a glossy magazine; keeping the peace with her critical, weight-obsessed mother; and enjoying the benefits of being best friends with gorgeous, charismatic, absolutely alpha Julia Ferrar. And then Julia gets hit by a cab. She survives with minor obvious injuries, but brain damage steals her memory and alters her personality, possibly forever. Suddenly, Marissa is thrown into the role of alpha friend. As Julia struggles to regain her memory- dredging up issues Marissa would rather forget, including the fact that Julia asked her to abandon the love of her life ten years ago- Marissa's own equilibrium is shaken. With the help of a dozen girls, she reluctantly agrees to coach in an after-school running program. There, Marissa uncovers her inner confidence and finds the courage to reexamine her past and take control of her future. The Art of Forgetting is a story about the power of friendship, the memories and myths that hold us back, and the delicate balance between forgiving and forgetting.

30 review for The Art of Forgetting

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lydia Presley

    I'm going to flat out warn you right now - I did not like this book. If you have plans to read it, if you dislike reading negative reviews, if you read the book and loved it and would prefer not to read criticism of the book, this would be the point you should stop reading this review. I don't like writing negative reviews. I prefer to pull what I did like out of each book I read and focus on that, with maybe a paragraph or so where I talk about why I didn't rate the book higher, or what I would I'm going to flat out warn you right now - I did not like this book. If you have plans to read it, if you dislike reading negative reviews, if you read the book and loved it and would prefer not to read criticism of the book, this would be the point you should stop reading this review. I don't like writing negative reviews. I prefer to pull what I did like out of each book I read and focus on that, with maybe a paragraph or so where I talk about why I didn't rate the book higher, or what I would have liked to see more of. Unfortunately, I can't pull anything positive out of this book - because what it felt to me was that I was reading juvenile prose mixed with a series of Public Service Announcements dealing with issues like bullying, maintaining healthy friendships, eating right, exercising, etc. I found the dialogue between characters to be flat and just.. boring, I mean - had I been friends with Marissa I don't know what I would have done to stay awake while she speaks. The strange little love triangle in this book between creepy, stalker ex (who randomly shows up outside her business in NY after over a decade?) and nice_guy_01 current boyfriend, was dull and lifeless. I think the most emotion this book invoked in me was a reaction to an opening scene in the book, and it was all downhill from there. I saw a review that compared The Art of Forgetting to Mean Girls - and while I can see some resemblences, the biggest one is that I didn't finish that movie and I was highly tempted not to finish this book either. I just plain didn't care about Marissa, about Julia, about any of the characters in the book. Take this review as just the honest opinion of one reader, and do your research if you plan to spend time reading this one. I'd highly recommend reading a chapter, if a sample is given to you, before making your final decision though. If you can handle the writing, then it may work for you.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Mean Girls: The adult version. Marissa watches from across the street as her best friend Julia is hit by a cab. At first Julia seems unhurt but then the doctors tell her she’s suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This is a timely topic since so many of our vets are coming back from the Middle East with the same injury. Marissa works for a women’s health magazine so she pitches the idea of writing about TBI rather than one more diet article. Her boss agrees so she’s off on an odyssey to Mean Girls: The adult version. Marissa watches from across the street as her best friend Julia is hit by a cab. At first Julia seems unhurt but then the doctors tell her she’s suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This is a timely topic since so many of our vets are coming back from the Middle East with the same injury. Marissa works for a women’s health magazine so she pitches the idea of writing about TBI rather than one more diet article. Her boss agrees so she’s off on an odyssey to study the literature on this topic but also to relearn her friendship with Julia who seems to have lost her truth filter. Julia blurts out anything that comes into her mind seemingly without realizing how hurtful her words are. Marissa is also learning to set boundaries with her family, co-workers and the men in her life. When she volunteers to mentor girls in an after school running program she helps them deal with bullying issues. Honestly it’s more like she’s giving herself a pep talk rather than the kids. The writing in this book struck me as simplistic and though the themes which include the nature of friendship between women, the need to stand up for yourself and forgiveness are important topics the story often feels preachy. If you have a girl who’s eleven and above this book could be a great learning tool for a mother/daughter discussion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

    Julia Ferrar and Marissa Rogers have been friends since their high school days in Michigan. Marissa is an editor for a health magazine and Julia is a publicist for a ballet company in New York. Their friendship survives quite a bit over the years, including an onerous boyfriend breakup in college at the behest of Julia. Now Julia is suffering from traumatic brain injury and isn't the pivotal point in Marissa's life. Julia returns to Michigan to recover and Marissa must find the nerve to move on Julia Ferrar and Marissa Rogers have been friends since their high school days in Michigan. Marissa is an editor for a health magazine and Julia is a publicist for a ballet company in New York. Their friendship survives quite a bit over the years, including an onerous boyfriend breakup in college at the behest of Julia. Now Julia is suffering from traumatic brain injury and isn't the pivotal point in Marissa's life. Julia returns to Michigan to recover and Marissa must find the nerve to move on in New York. Although you can't go back in time, Julia's return to Michigan brings an old love back into Marissa's life. Will she be able to withstand Julia's current machinations? Can they both move forward without reliving mistakes from their past? Marissa is, in many ways, the every-woman. She has moments when she is lacking in self-confidence and is sure that those last 10 pounds will allow her to feel more comfortable in her own body. She loves her current boyfriend but constantly wonders about the one that got away. It isn't until Marissa begins to work as a mentor/coach in an after-school running program that she learns that self-confidence and self-esteem must come from within. I enjoyed reading about the self-discovery and self-awareness that evolves in both Marissa and Julia. I have to say that I didn't really like Julia as a person or a friend. I thought she was too manipulative and insistent on getting her way no matter what. It's as if she expects Marissa's life to revolve around her needs, and this is before the brain injury occurred. However, without Julia there is no impetus for Marissa to challenge herself and move forward. This is not just a "feel good" read but an honest and insightful look at friendship. I received this book for free as part of an early reviewer's program.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    I found this book to very boring that I really wanted to finish it one day. The book cover is a little misleading as it has nothing to do with dance or anything. Her bff was a dancer and I thought that the MC was taking over her dance class or something like that and some reviews almost made this felt like it was a second chance at your first love type of book before reading but it wasn't (view spoiler)[the MC stays with the guy she currently in a relationship with instead of going back to the g I found this book to very boring that I really wanted to finish it one day. The book cover is a little misleading as it has nothing to do with dance or anything. Her bff was a dancer and I thought that the MC was taking over her dance class or something like that and some reviews almost made this felt like it was a second chance at your first love type of book before reading but it wasn't (view spoiler)[the MC stays with the guy she currently in a relationship with instead of going back to the guy she may or may not still have feelings for, she probably doesn't though (hide spoiler)] The book was alright, I don't know maybe I wanted something different or something. I do like the message of taking risk and stop holding back though, that message I do like from the book but other than that I was just not didn't like. The author writing was really good and I would like to see what else she might right in the future but I wish there was more to the story and I also would've like if the flashbacks were in a separate chapters or have a different writing style as they got me confused a little bit when they were mixed with the current life the MC has now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    At First Sight: Melissa and Julie have been best friends since they were fourteen, being each other's rocks as they navigate through life; and eventually they both end up in New York City living the dream... until Julie is hit by a cab right before Melissa's eyes. Even though physically she's just fine, Julie isn't the same on the heels of severe brain trauma, which alters her personality and moods, leaving both Julie and Melissa feeling lost. Not to mention that Julie, who has lost any kind of f At First Sight: Melissa and Julie have been best friends since they were fourteen, being each other's rocks as they navigate through life; and eventually they both end up in New York City living the dream... until Julie is hit by a cab right before Melissa's eyes. Even though physically she's just fine, Julie isn't the same on the heels of severe brain trauma, which alters her personality and moods, leaving both Julie and Melissa feeling lost. Not to mention that Julie, who has lost any kind of filter between her mind and her mouth, is suddenly obsessed with Nathan, Melissa's college ex and possibly the one that got away. Only that Nathan didn't just get away, Melissa set him free because of Julie. Away from Julie - who moves back with her parents - for the first time in nearly a decade, Marissa is forced to take a long, hard look at her life. At the fact she rarely sees her friends, that she doesn't loves her job anymore, that her tax lawyer boyfriend Dave might be a little boring, and that life might just not be as exciting without Julie in it and that Julie - the one she knows and loves - might never come back. Second Glance: I don't know what made me pick up The Art of Forgetting, since is not really the type of book I usually read - it's more Chick Lit/Women's fiction than, say, romance. But I was so pleasantly surprised with how awesome, bittersweet and enjoyable this book was. Camille Noe Pagan does an amazing job portraying the friendship between Melissa and Julie, this relationship is incredibly nuanced and feels real. While Julie is quite manipulative at times, she isn't exactly a toxic friend - she loves and cares for Mel, and she is possessive of her because Mel is her rock; and on the other hand, Julie makes Mel feel needed and wanted in the way she never really did before they met. One of my favorite aunts is a stroke survivor and she has severe brain injury, even if it didn't came out of a trauma, and I can say that the author makes a heartbreaking but quite accurate portrayal of how difficult and sad is to cope with this type of thing, which leaves this person you love still there but not quite the same. Another thing I want to mention is that this is a very adult book and that Melissa has very adult problems, but she deals with them as an adult. There is a point in the story where she gets to run a bunch of "What Ifs" in her mind regarding Nathan and what she let go off because Julie asked her to, but it never occurred to her to cheat on her boyfriend; and Mel does realize that what she has going on with Dave is good, even if he is a bit of a workaholic and not perfect and too stable - he loves her. Also, loved the way Melissa starts to find her own way - through running and a bunch of girls she coaches to run a 5 K race who often teach her more than what she can teach them. And her family, Dave's family and other friends are quite well drawn and do read like real people. Bottom Line: I was happily surprised with The Art of Forgetting. I do think the ending was a bit neat, but I'm not letting it bothering me too much; and I'll definitely be checking out this author in the future. Favorite Quote: "Honey, I think you should be more worried about yourself than about your future children." Joyel tells me with a wistful smile. "Because trust me, it's the weight of someone else's expectations that's harder to lose."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    **I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley from the fine peeps over at Penguin USA** O-kay-doe-kay. I am going to be upfront: If I had not received this book from NetGalley for review I probably wouldn't have finished it. And not because this book is terribly written or that the subject matters wasn't interesting but solely because I did not like the protagonist nor did I care about her problems. This was a huge stumbling block for me while reading this book. The Art of Forgetting is the s **I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley from the fine peeps over at Penguin USA** O-kay-doe-kay. I am going to be upfront: If I had not received this book from NetGalley for review I probably wouldn't have finished it. And not because this book is terribly written or that the subject matters wasn't interesting but solely because I did not like the protagonist nor did I care about her problems. This was a huge stumbling block for me while reading this book. The Art of Forgetting is the story of Maressa a young woman who works in NY at a top health magazine. She has an amazing boyfriend, who aside from being (in her words) boring is incredibly supportive and adorable, she's got a fantastic job in which she is steadily making a name for herself, and she's got a great sister who tells her when she needs to check herself before she wrecks herself. Her biggest problem? Her co-dependent relationship with her self involved best friend who gets hit by a car and ends up with brain damage. A relationship she seemed to pursue because it made her feel popular and important back in high school. Oh, and there is her some what cliquishly verbally abusive mother who says random hurtful things from time to time. But this just seemed forced and unnecessary to me. The novel is well written (meaning the plots well thought out, Mr. King would approve of the authors dialogue tags, and in general, nouns and verbs all line up mighty nicely). The theme of loving yourself and learning to love others in a healthy non-self-deprecating way is strongly present and a great message. And the little tidbits and factoids are fun. fyi: I will now be spending an hour a day scrubbing my kitchen counters! *shudders* But even in the face of all the good, I just didn't find Maressa's story gripping nor did I really care. I felt like this was a person with the world at her feet, who had an amazing life and was just too blind to notice. It's like someone complaining because they only have a 10 million dollars when they really deserved 20. Sadly, this story was just not for me. If I were to rating the writing and depth of the research the author did for this story, I'd give her a 3 1/2. If I were to rate the storyline and characters sadly it would get a one and a half so I'm slappin' a 2 on this one and callin' it a day.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patrice Hoffman

    *I received this book through a goodreads giveaway. I wasn't sure what to expect before reading this book. The reviews suggested that the book is very inspiring and uplifting. I agree with those views and it's so much more. Marissa is witness to a horrible accident involving her best friend Julia and a New York City cab. The main injury to Julia is brain damage. Julia suffers from minor physical damage. After the injury Julia mentions someone from Marissa's past which sets the story in motion. Th *I received this book through a goodreads giveaway. I wasn't sure what to expect before reading this book. The reviews suggested that the book is very inspiring and uplifting. I agree with those views and it's so much more. Marissa is witness to a horrible accident involving her best friend Julia and a New York City cab. The main injury to Julia is brain damage. Julia suffers from minor physical damage. After the injury Julia mentions someone from Marissa's past which sets the story in motion. The book is told from a first-person's point of view (Marissa's) and reads like a chick-lit book but not in the cliche way. Marissa is not like some of the other women featured in women's literature. She isn't ditzy, and she doesn't gripe about every single thing that happens wrong, but she doesn't make many choices either. Until the accident, her life had been centered around her best friend Julia, who she sees as flawless physically and mentally. Most of the book I really cheered on the protaganist because she is likeable. She only frustrates me when she doesn't embrace her worth. She seems content playing second fiddle to Julia. Marissa doesn't see how toxic the relationship is that she shared with Julia before the accident. Julia is pretty selfish and even more vile after the accident which causes her memory loss. And Marissa's mother is just as bad as Julia. Go figure who her best friend would be. What's inspiring about this story is that we see Marissa finding her voice and becoming her own person. She makes decisions that are good for her. Importantly, she begins to love her self. She starts taking risks and practices forgetting about past hurts and loves. Ultimately the book is really good and well written. I couldn't put the it down. The message of relationships and learning how to forgive and forget is strong throughout the book. I can't wait to read more from this author.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy

    When I first saw the cover of THE ART OF FORGETTING, I knew that I needed to add it to my "to be read" list. Sure, it's shallow, but I'll admit -- I do judge a book by its cover. And, just look at this cover! It's spectacular, no? A few weeks ago, I was leafing through an issue of one of the (ridiculously high) number of magazines I'd bought at the checkout counter, and I found a brief mentioning of THE ART OF FORGETTING, calling it "Chick lit with a brain". I love chick lit, and I love brains, s When I first saw the cover of THE ART OF FORGETTING, I knew that I needed to add it to my "to be read" list. Sure, it's shallow, but I'll admit -- I do judge a book by its cover. And, just look at this cover! It's spectacular, no? A few weeks ago, I was leafing through an issue of one of the (ridiculously high) number of magazines I'd bought at the checkout counter, and I found a brief mentioning of THE ART OF FORGETTING, calling it "Chick lit with a brain". I love chick lit, and I love brains, so I was further intrigued. Thus, when I found THE ART OF FORGETTING on NetGalley for advanced reading, I was quite excited and immediately decided to give it a go! So, starting with the story. THE ART OF FORGETTING centers on your stereotypical chick-lit friendship. We have Julia, the beautiful, perfect blonde-bombshell, always accustomed to getting her way with men, and Marissa, the intelligent, mousy brunette who seems fairy content with lurking in the shadows of her best friend's spotlight. While the dynamic between the girls, on the surface, is pretty much what you'd expect from a chick lit novel, there actually is a bit more going on underneath it all. Despite the fact that the girls live in the perfect chick lit city, holding down the perfect chick lit careers, they are thrust into an (actual) real-life difficult scenario within mere pages of the opening of the book -- one that's a big tougher than the expected "tragic" question of "OMG, which of these two beautiful, rich, fabulous men do I end up with (for the week?)." Anyways, on her way to meeting her best friend Marissa for lunch, Julia gets hit by a car. It turns out that the rapid blow to the brain left her with what could end up being permanent brain damage, and doctors warn Marissa that Julia may undergo spurts of memory loss as well as drastic changes in personality, demeanor, and interests. Forced to deal with a "new" best friend who seems more impulsive and selfish than ever before, Marissa finds herself questioning the basis of this lasting friendship, simultaneously struggling to find herself and her own inner strength. One particular incident from the past has been particularly troubling Marissa lately. She remembers a guy, the one she presumed was her "soulmate" if ever a thing existed, and she remembers the way the relationship made her feel happy, excited, and new. She ended that relationship because Julia, finding herself falling for her best friend's boyfriend, demanded that Marissa put her friendships first, discarding any man that could cause trouble between the two of them now. Sure, Marissa has moved on now -- she's in a stable, comfortable relationship with a mature man who, although he doesn't make her necessarily feel excited, seems to be a prime candidate for marriage -- so it's more a matter of principle now -- right? Of course I'm not going to tell you how it ends, but the process is more important here than the outcome, regardless, I think. The novel does a nice job of pulling the reader into the characters, leaving us sympathetic for Marissa and hopeful for her path of growth and self-discovery. That said, I am a huge sucker for a strong ending, and this one didn't deliver QUITE as much as I hoped. But, I'd still give THE ART OF FORGIVING a strong 4 or 4.5 stars and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is a fan of women's fiction. Not only does this one have "brain" -- I think it has "heart" as well.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    The title of this book really grabbed my attention and the book was a pleasant surprise. The book chronicles two woman's friendship from middle school through middle age. The two woman forge a relationship out of common interests and come to rely upon one another for support through the trials of their lives. The dominant and extroverted friend Julia befriends the awkward and shy Marissa. Marissa has trouble making friends while Julia is the life of the party. Marissa really loves and admires Ju The title of this book really grabbed my attention and the book was a pleasant surprise. The book chronicles two woman's friendship from middle school through middle age. The two woman forge a relationship out of common interests and come to rely upon one another for support through the trials of their lives. The dominant and extroverted friend Julia befriends the awkward and shy Marissa. Marissa has trouble making friends while Julia is the life of the party. Marissa really loves and admires Julia but as is true of all friendships Marissa knows theirs isn't perfect. She realizes that she is overshadowed by Julia. Julia is a talented ballerina who is very beautiful, charming and wealthy. Marissa is not envious of Julia but she is controlled by her and desperately wants to please Julia. Julia makes a high priced demand of Marissa while they are both in college. Julia makes Marissa choose either their friendship or her relationship with Nathan. Marissa promised Julia that they would be roommates and live in New York City together when they graduate from college. Marissa is in love with Nathan but has doubts about their future together and desperately wants to leave Ann Arbor and live in the big city. Nathan wants to start a restaurant and stay where all of his friends and family are. So Marissa chooses Julia and tries to forget her first love. Fast forward to ten years later: Marissa is the assistant editor of a popular magazine in New York City and has a wonderful and devoted boyfriend. Julia is a successful ballet instructor who loves her life but has trouble with relationships. The two woman have remained best friends and have succeeded in following their dreams; so then of course life happens. On one fateful night Julia is rushing to meet Marissa (at their favorite restaurant) when she is struck by a cab right in front of Marissa. She suffers severe brain damage and her entire life is altered along with her personality. Marissa now has to be the strong one and figure out what's best for Julia and more importantly what's best for Marissa. Both of their lives will never be the same. Marissa begins a journey of self-discovery and self-realization. She begins re-examining her life and her priorities. Did she make the right decision to follow her dreams or does her heart belong back home with her first love? I really enjoyed watching this story unfold because we all have those moments in our lives when we question our past and our future.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stacey (prettybooks)

    Okay, so apparently I'm really into novels about amnesia. This is the third one I've read within a couple of weeks. It just happens! This one was a little different to the others I have read. There's no gripping and intriguing mystery where we have to try to figure out what caused the protagonist to lose his or her memory. Instead, Marissa, our protagonist, is about to meet up with her best friend Julia when she, horrifyingly, watches a cab hit her. The accident means that Julia suffers from bra Okay, so apparently I'm really into novels about amnesia. This is the third one I've read within a couple of weeks. It just happens! This one was a little different to the others I have read. There's no gripping and intriguing mystery where we have to try to figure out what caused the protagonist to lose his or her memory. Instead, Marissa, our protagonist, is about to meet up with her best friend Julia when she, horrifyingly, watches a cab hit her. The accident means that Julia suffers from brain injury and it causes her personality to drastically change. The Art of Forgetting is about the consequences this brain injury has on Julia and Marissa’s friendship and it highlights difficulties of friendship and relationships in general. The title has a double meaning: there’s the obvious reference to Julia’s memory loss but it also refers to the equally damaging unwillingness to let go of grudges (and the past) and move on. The Art of Forgetting is an extremely positive and inspiring novel. I was pleasantly surprised. The cover, to me, screamed “literary fiction” but instead the narrative was more chick lit. This is by no means a criticism. I think that it actually made it more relatable. Marissa isn’t necessarily an instantly likeable character. She has things that most people crave: a career, an apartment and a happy relationship based on trust - a good life. Even so, Camille Noe Pagan describes Marissa in a way that wasn’t superficial and I could identify with her straight away. Julia is Marissa’s only friend and after the accident, Julia no longer ‘felt’ like Julia, and so Marissa felt completely alone. I felt completely serene when I had finished The Art of Forgetting because it is one of the most uplifting books I have read so far this year. It shows us that even a horrendous event can be a positive force for change in someone’s life. Thoroughly recommended. This book was obtained as an eGalley from the publisher for review. I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Book Twirps

    Marissa Rogers has lived in the shadow of her best friend, Julia, for as long as she can remember, and she is just fine with that. Marissa does well for herself as the editor for Svelte a health magazine, while Julia is a publicist for a ballet company in New York. Though Julia is extremely self-involved, Marissa has always stuck by her. Their friendship has weathered many storms, but despite the bad times, their friendship has always managed to stay strong. When Julia is hit by a cab and suffer Marissa Rogers has lived in the shadow of her best friend, Julia, for as long as she can remember, and she is just fine with that. Marissa does well for herself as the editor for Svelte a health magazine, while Julia is a publicist for a ballet company in New York. Though Julia is extremely self-involved, Marissa has always stuck by her. Their friendship has weathered many storms, but despite the bad times, their friendship has always managed to stay strong. When Julia is hit by a cab and suffers a traumatic brain injury, she returns to Michigan to recover and Marissa finds herself reevaluating her life now that Julia is no longer the Julia she knew. The book is told in both present tense, and through a series of flashbacks, giving the reader a glimpse at the history between Marissa & Julia, and is very well-written. The characters are real and believable, but I found myself extremely frustrated with Marissa at times for putting up with Julia's behavior. This book is perfect for anyone who loves "Chick-Lit", and stories about female friendships. Though at times cliche', the book was enjoyable and I was satisfied with the ending. (This review is based on an advanced copy from NetGalley)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Jio

    Beautiful, compelling debut novel that I just loved. Funny, in parts, sad in others--I enjoyed this one very much, especially for the way the author crafted such complex characters--both likable and flawed. Can't wait for Camille Noe Pagan's next! I'm still thinking about her characters months after finishing--a sign of a terrific read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mama Joy

    Excellent summer read. One of those books you just want to get lost in and not put down until the end. I finished it in just a couple of days. Loved it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    This was a very quick read. It was a nice way to pass a Saturday afternoon and evening when I needed to relax.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tevya

    This book came to me by default. Andrea knows that as a former dancer, I love books about ballet. So when she showed me this cover and asked if I'd like to read this book, I jumped on it without bothering to find out what the book was actually about. So before I start my actual review, let's take a moment to admire the beautiful cover - stunning, isn't it? The graceful arch of her back, the flow of her skirt and stretch of her arms. I love a beautiful cover that makes me want to read the book! Ok This book came to me by default. Andrea knows that as a former dancer, I love books about ballet. So when she showed me this cover and asked if I'd like to read this book, I jumped on it without bothering to find out what the book was actually about. So before I start my actual review, let's take a moment to admire the beautiful cover - stunning, isn't it? The graceful arch of her back, the flow of her skirt and stretch of her arms. I love a beautiful cover that makes me want to read the book! Ok, now let's talk about the story. The Art of Forgetting actually has very little do do with ballet. It is a beautiful story of friendship and growth, both individual growth as well as the growth of relationships. Marissa is very content to live life in the shadow of her best friend, Julia. She is happy in her stable relationship and right on track with her career goals. All of that changes when Julia is involved in an accident that leaves her with traumatic brain damage, leaving her memory and personality altered. Merissa struggles to find her balance as the roles of their friendship reverse. As this is happening, Julia brings an ex-boyfriend back into Merissa's life - one that Julia forced Marissa to break up with in college - the one that Marissa still thinks of as "the one that got away". Marissa is faced with upheaval and hard decisions in every aspect of her life, from her relationship with her steady and devoted boyfriend to her friendship with Julia, and even her career path. Camille Noe Pagan weaves a beautiful tale of friendship and love. I was surprised to find that the focus actually revolves around Marissa and the decisions that she has to make, rather than the friendship between Marissa and Julia. For me, this made the story even richer because I was able to identify with Marissa and gain insight into every aspect of her life. I loved the simplistic first-person writing. This is the first book in a long time that I didn't feel the need to skim over flowery wording or too detailed passages. I shared Marissa's frustration and pain while learning to accept the changes in Julia and the new dynamic of their relationship. I was just as conflicted as she was exploring the possibility of a lost love without damaging her current relationship. (And I have to admit that I couldn't decide until the very end which man I wanted to see Marissa with in the end, but by the time she made her decision, I was with her 100% and was so happy with her choice.) With everything else going on in Marissa's life, she also takes on the role of coach and mentor to teenage girls through a running organization. I have only one word to describe this part of the storyline - inspiring. Reading about Marissa's experience with these teens, the affect it had on her as well as the girls she coached, made me want to go out and find a local organization. As if all of this was not enough to make me love the book, Marissa's family totally sucked me in. My favorite part of this story is how Marissa's relationship with her sister changed through out the book. I am very lucky to have a close and loving relationship with my sisters. They are my best friends. So to watch Marissa develop that closeness with her sister was a treasure for me. (I know - that sounds so cheesy, but it's true!) I really could go on and on about Marissa's family, but I don't want to give away any spoilers, and this is one family that you have to read to believe. I'll just say that they are a source of laughter and tears the whole way through. They bring in some needed comedic relief, but their actions also help to unsettle Marissa, and to help her along her journey of self discovery. So while the book actually had next to nothing to do about ballet (Julia was a dancer before her accident), the story still touched a spot in my heart. It's not a light, easy read - it's an emotional ride. But it's not so emotional that you have a hard time reading it. There are enough warm, cozy moments to balance everything out. It is a true story of friendship lost and gained, of love questioned and renewed, and of the amazing capacity of the human heart and mind to grow and strengthen in spite of the road blocks that life throws our way.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    So, this book claims to be a story of female friendship; more specifically, if female friendship can stand the test of role reversals due to a traumatic brain injury. While there is a friendship and a brain injury, this book could not be further from the truth. It primarily focuses on all aspects of Marissa's life, especially ones that have absolutely nothing to do with her friend Julia or Julia's brain injury, with short and uneventful memories, talks, and visits with Julia sprinkled sparingly So, this book claims to be a story of female friendship; more specifically, if female friendship can stand the test of role reversals due to a traumatic brain injury. While there is a friendship and a brain injury, this book could not be further from the truth. It primarily focuses on all aspects of Marissa's life, especially ones that have absolutely nothing to do with her friend Julia or Julia's brain injury, with short and uneventful memories, talks, and visits with Julia sprinkled sparingly throughout. There is NO role reversal at all throughout the entire book. Even when Julia is in the hospital she seems to remain the alpha, so don't trust the inside flap to give you a realistic summary of the story. It is nothing like it describes, which I found very disappointing. Marissa is also a very depressing character. She is constantly (and I mean throughout the ENTIRE BOOK) down on herself about her food and weight issues, although everyone constantly tells her she is beautiful and thin. The author makes her sound as if she is obese when she gains just 10-20 lbs. She also has a great job which pays well and has an awesome, caring, laidback boss, but guess what? She hates her job. She is given an eager and hardworking assistant that she asked for but whom she hates. If that wasn't enough, she also hates her mom. She even questions her happiness in her relationship with her HOT, RICH, SUCCESSFUL, DEVOTED boyfriend. She also constantly goes back and fourth in a love/hate thing with Julia, her friend of 15+ years, for pretty stupid reasons, and while she is recovering from traumatic brain injury at that. I found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit, especially when Marissa would make a "clever" sarcastic (and usually self-deprecating) quip. Perhaps the author was trying to emulate the cynical New York (or just American) woman? I just wish she hadn't been such a downer the entire book. Seriously, the ENTIRE BOOK. It was really a shame. To me, it seemed the book lacked any relatable emotion. If my best friend was in an accident such as this, I would be a wreck. I would cry a lot. I would curse the world. I would feel confused and shattered. Marissa lacks this sense of loss and caring. She seems to not be fazed by it almost at all. She is completely self-centered, self-loathing, and sounds like a whiny anorexic teenager. She seems to "come into her own" and her entire life falls together perfectly (hastily, in the last 40-50 pages...too rushed) while she essentially ignores or at least distances herself from her BFF when Julia needs her the most. The entire story takes place within just a year, what should be one of the hardest years of her life, what with her friend having brain damage and all, and yet it seems to be the best and happiest and luckiest year of her life. The focus of the book is definitely NOT the friendship; I want that to be clear. HOWEVER, I gave it 2 stars for the IDEA of what the story COULD HAVE BEEN. I feel like it could have been an amazing, heart-wrenching, dramatic, thoughtful story... But it wasn't any of those, not even close. It just fell flat. I also liked the fact that Marissa was involved in volunteer work (although she had to be coerced into doing so). And the twist near the end (her decision about who to choose) was a breath of fresh air considering the more popular and boring/predictable/unrealistic "fairytale" type endings. But all in all, I would say this definitely falls into the category of "chick lit." It was an easy read (I finished it in one day). It reminds me of Emily Giffin's book "Something Borrowed" mixed with "Twilight" minus the vampires. (Bella's depressed, self-loathing, boring self is somehow graced with the undying love and sacrifice from literally everyone around her, mixed with the love/hate relationship in Giffin's book between two friends, one alpha one beta.) Skip this one. It's nothing special.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    I want you to picture me shrugging and saying "eh", because that's really the best way to capture this book of non-events. And in case you're wondering what I look like, two words: Devastatingly Gorgeous. The book is really just ok. The writing is fine. I found it light, easy, and simple to read. I'd read another book by this author if presented with one. Sure. But what's wrong with it? *deep breath* Let's start with the premise of the book. The author promises a story about two women renegotiatin I want you to picture me shrugging and saying "eh", because that's really the best way to capture this book of non-events. And in case you're wondering what I look like, two words: Devastatingly Gorgeous. The book is really just ok. The writing is fine. I found it light, easy, and simple to read. I'd read another book by this author if presented with one. Sure. But what's wrong with it? *deep breath* Let's start with the premise of the book. The author promises a story about two women renegotiating their complicated friendship in the wake of a brain injury. We have Julia, the "alpha" friend and Marissa, her sidekick who have been the best of friends since they were 14. Julia is always the driving (controlling) force behind everything and then one day she gets into a car accident and is never the same. Suddenly, Marissa is thrust into the role of "alpha" friend and has to deal with her new friend's personality and old issues from the past, like when Julia convinced her to dump the love of her life ten years ago for no reason. That's what we're promised, but that's not really what we get. Almost immediately after the accident, Julia's parents whisk her away across the country and instead of a long complex process where the two women explore their new roles in life, they live separate lives that only overlap in a handful of places. Marissa, despite being a "Beta" friend living in Julia's shadow has the boyfriend of the century whose only flaw is working a little too much, her dream job where she can disappear in the middle of the day to get drunk and no one cares, and an ex who has pined for her for ten years waiting in the wings. Julia's brain injury does very little to alter her beyond being a bit blunt and changing her fashion sense. The few times we do get to see Julia, there is an implication that she's a wreck but it's never shown to us. The author just tells us about it through offhand comments by Julia's mother and one minor confrontation in a kitchen where Marissa really overreacts. This brings me to the biggest problem with the book: Marissa. Not only do we spend almost no time with the far more fascinating Julia, but Marissa is DULL and WHINY. Oh man does this girl overreact. Her brain injured friend says one small thing and she flips. Her assistant is busting her butt to climb the ladder and Marissa is no end of mean and condescending to the girl - because she's pretty? I'm not really sure why Marissa hates her. Her ex shows up and then she acts like she's being forced to dramatically choose her perfect boyfriend that she loves over a "What might have been". This is even before we learn whether or not he's even interested in that. That might have been a little compelling if for even one second I believed that she might actually consider her ex an option. Marissa spends most of the time when her ex is around accusing Julia of basically being a slut and sleeping with him based on nothing. Her entire evidence for her jealousy is "boys usually like Julia more". The ending of the story is also tied up too neatly. Marissa never has to work for anything. She gets everything she wants in the end, but didn't do anything to earn it. Overall, it's a quick, light read. This is a debut novel and despite all my complaints, it did keep me reading the whole way through. I look forward to what the author can produce in the future.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I was a First Reads winner for this book!! Marissa Rogers is now one of my absolute favorite characters from a novel. Camille Noe Pagan has done a fabulous job with this book. I'm really sad that the story is over. Marissa has always been comfortable with taking a backseat to whomever is in the limelight. This is especially true of her relationship with her best friend, Julia Ferrar. Julia has a very overbearing, dominant personality that tends to leave Marissa in a supporting role. Whenever anyt I was a First Reads winner for this book!! Marissa Rogers is now one of my absolute favorite characters from a novel. Camille Noe Pagan has done a fabulous job with this book. I'm really sad that the story is over. Marissa has always been comfortable with taking a backseat to whomever is in the limelight. This is especially true of her relationship with her best friend, Julia Ferrar. Julia has a very overbearing, dominant personality that tends to leave Marissa in a supporting role. Whenever anything upsets Julia, Marissa is left to pick up the pieces for her. They met in high school and vowed to grow up and follow their dreams in New York City. One day Julia is hit by a cab and seems to be just fine until it becomes apparent that she has brain damage. Her memory and personality are altered, making her into someone Marissa barely knows. I absolutely hated Julia for 99% of this book. I couldn't even bring myself to feel sorry for her at all after the accident. I felt like she was a person who always wanted to be number one. She was so desperate to be first in Marissa's life that she tried to manipulate every choice Marissa made. She once basically forced Marissa to break up with her boyfriend because she was jealous. (view spoiler)[Later on she tries to force a reunion between the two because she has time to reconsider her past actions. However, this would require her to force Marissa to break up with yet another boyfriend. (hide spoiler)] Despite my dislike of her, I think she was a very real character. By the end of the book, I began to see the good in her and realized she wasn't necessarily the evil person I initially thought. Still annoying, just not evil. One of my favorite parts of the story was that Marissa volunteered to coach for a group called Take the Lead. Basically women volunteer to coach school age girls for a 5K race and along the way teach them how to like themselves and overcome adversities, like bullying. I liked the concept of the organization and really appreciated the way it helped Marissa to find out more about herself. It was a big part of her learning about herself. (view spoiler)[I think that it's such a wonderful story because we can all relate to it. Marissa became "stuck" in her current lifestyle, with a job that no longer thrilled her, an overbearing mother, and a best friend who demanded to be number one. She grew up and began to take charge. She finally stopped letting the world walk all over her and became someone she actually wanted to be. (hide spoiler)] I do have one small complaint. In some places the narrative tends to skip. It's going along smoothly then out of nowhere we're at a different day and place with different people in the scene. It's not so bad it ruins the story but I did have to stop and flip back a page or two to figure out where I got lost. However, I liked the book so much I HAVE to give it 5 stars. This is one of the best reads I've had in a while. I wholeheartedly recommend it, as I know that so many of us have a little bit of Marissa Rogers in us!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Because of this book, I am adding the following "chick-lit" scale to all my reviews from here on out: 1 = literature, 10 = Meg Ryan movie, Sex and the City knock-off, The View-esque banality. This book comes in at approximately an 8. Ever obsess about your weight only to lose 10 lbs without even trying? Ever be wildly successful at your job by just showing up, and then going to happy hour with your fabulous boss? Ever feel unsure about your handsome, rich boyfriend who just bought an apartment y Because of this book, I am adding the following "chick-lit" scale to all my reviews from here on out: 1 = literature, 10 = Meg Ryan movie, Sex and the City knock-off, The View-esque banality. This book comes in at approximately an 8. Ever obsess about your weight only to lose 10 lbs without even trying? Ever be wildly successful at your job by just showing up, and then going to happy hour with your fabulous boss? Ever feel unsure about your handsome, rich boyfriend who just bought an apartment you can share for a fraction of your current rent, because you suspect your college boyfriend may have been more spontaneous and exciting? Ever get a job you're unqualified for handed to you during a recession that will give you a $5k pay bump despite the fact that it's at a non-profit, and your current job is as an editor at a lucrative magazine? Ever bitch and moan constantly, neglect your family and friends, and take revenge out on your young and inexperienced assistant, only to have everyone in your life tell how you wonderful you are, and how much you deserve all the great things effortlessly rolling your way, despite one tragedy that was not nearly as devastating as it easily could have been? If so, then perhaps you could relate to Marissa, the whiny main character of this book. Yeah, me neither. Relationships between women - best friends, mothers and daughters, sisters, etc. - can be complicated. Growing up girl inevitably involves searing growing pains, and few of us have matured without hurting, even while supporting, each other along the way; it's possible that loyalty can be a heavier burden than just letting wounds heal on their own over the years. Despite its premise - Marissa's best friend suffers a traumatic brain injury and becomes a little wonky (although curably) for awhile - this book only skims the surface of those complexities. Marissa's best friend feels guilty for having asked Marissa to break up with a boyfriend she had a long time ago, and her unpredictable behavior, spurred by the head injury, brings him back into their lives. The guy, a rustic, Midwestern restauranteur who literally "smells faintly of woodchips" and won't take no for an answer (dontcha hate it when hotties from your past are still pining for you a decade later?), threatens to throw Marissa's urban-chic, Brooklyn-ite life, and her relationship with her current boyfriend (into which she puts absolutely no maintenance effort) into upheaval. Which man will she choose? Wait, I thought this book was supposed to be about relationships between WOMEN... Oh ok, here's some drama with her bitchy mother, who went from trashy, absentee single mom to overbearing, class-obsessed diva with one recent marriage, whose motivations behind making her daughter miserable are never questioned. All in all, this book was an entertaining airplane read. If you're expecting emotion, or a likable female main character, look elsewhere.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Holly Weiss

    Is your best friend perfect? Probably not. Evidently you love her anyway or you would have abandoned the friendship long ago. The Art of Forgetting explores the twists and turns in a friendship that is less than harmonious, yet essential for one’s well-being. Self-deprecating Marissa and self-centered Julia have been friends since they were fourteen. Although they show their love for each other in very different ways, Julia and Marissa need each other to the extent that their friendship becomes a Is your best friend perfect? Probably not. Evidently you love her anyway or you would have abandoned the friendship long ago. The Art of Forgetting explores the twists and turns in a friendship that is less than harmonious, yet essential for one’s well-being. Self-deprecating Marissa and self-centered Julia have been friends since they were fourteen. Although they show their love for each other in very different ways, Julia and Marissa need each other to the extent that their friendship becomes an addiction. Both women are flawed, yet they remain bonded. An accident leaves Julia, a dancer, with Traumatic Brain Injury. While she recuperates their solidarity is tested and strengthened in ways neither Julia nor Marissa understands. The book is aptly titled. New and long-held hurts are best forgotten. Julia punches Marissa with unflinching, hurtful honesty (a side effect of a frontal lobe injury). Both have issues over a man they tangled with in the past. The sheen on their friendship has been tarnished by the past and tested by the accident, but they manage to move past the old issues and form a new bond. Marissa, who suffered from a need to be rescued and buoyed up by her friends, uncovers a positive self-image that can’t be taught. The plot element of coaching an after-school running team comes out of the blue, but is well-utilized in Marissa’s discovery that she is the only one who can help her believe in herself. Author Camille Noe Pagán regularly publishes features about women’s health in various national publications. The Art of Forgetting marks her debut in fiction. Pagán admits that fiction is a great departure from journalism. After a day of writing articles dealing with hard science, she spent her nights writing her novel. Writing fiction felt to her “like a wonderful escape; I loved sitting down and digging into my characters’ lives.” A specialist in scientific inquiry, the author consulted medical journals, physicians specializing in brain injury and entered chat rooms for first-hand perspectives from people with Traumatic Brain Injury. She provides resources for TBI at the end of the book. Readers looking for perfect characters to emulate may be disappointed by The Art of Forgetting. The book will appeal to those who have worked hard to earn personal growth and forge strong relationships. The book is a courageous examination of flawed human beings coping with a disturbed equilibrium. The jacket cover is luminous. Are we looking at a dancer taking her last bow due to her brain injury? Or, perhaps, the image is that of one woman or two attempting to hold themselves together against all odds. The Penguin Group provided the advance review copy. The opinions expressed in the review are unbiased and wholly those of the reviewer. Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont

  21. 5 out of 5

    Audra (Unabridged Chick)

    This breezy novel is easy to enjoy in one sitting (I completed it in three hours at the pool), and for good and for bad, it's a light, straightforward story reminiscent of a Hallmark film. Following Marissa Rogers, a health magazine editor in New York City who suffers from poor self-esteem, an awful mother, and a lifelong friendship with the selfish and popular Julia Ferrar, the novel explores themes of self value and identity, forgiveness, the impacts of painful decisions on friendships, and ta This breezy novel is easy to enjoy in one sitting (I completed it in three hours at the pool), and for good and for bad, it's a light, straightforward story reminiscent of a Hallmark film. Following Marissa Rogers, a health magazine editor in New York City who suffers from poor self-esteem, an awful mother, and a lifelong friendship with the selfish and popular Julia Ferrar, the novel explores themes of self value and identity, forgiveness, the impacts of painful decisions on friendships, and taking responsibility for one's choices. The writing was a bit thin for my tastes but as a result, this potentially overwrought topic is presented in a very grounded manner, rather than mired in melodrama or exaggerated emotion. Unfortunately, I never completely connected with Julia, the brain damage victim, or Marissa, the passive doormat friend, and that impacted my ability to totally enjoy this novel. I could certainly relate at moments to each character (and the dangerous allure of strong personalities) but both characters were written so broadly and were thinly fleshed out, I failed to see the appeal of either woman. Pagan's previous writing experience includes articles for magazines like Fitness, Glamour, Self, and Women's Health, and chunks of the novel read more like a piece of how-to journalism than a novel. Marissa becomes a coach for an organization that uses running as a way to help at risk girls find self-esteem, and I found myself skimming those passages, which felt like PSAs on a variety of issues (self-esteem, bullying). While certainly admirable, they were also boring. The romantic 'triangle' between Marissa, her first boyfriend Nathan, and her current boyfriend Dave, was another note that rang false (although Dave is one of my favorite of the secondary characters, for being the voice of reason time and time again). I certainly have my own 'what if' moments and mistakes made in college that I still regret, but I'm not sure I'd derail my whole life a decade later because my brain damaged friend decided to pull strings and manipulate an unwanted reunion. The novel had some lovely secondary characters I really enjoyed, like Marissa's sister Sarah, her boss Naomi, and her aforementioned boyfriend Dave. The themes of self-discovery and forgiveness run through all Marissa's interactions and for me, it invited some reflection on my own painful memories and the behaviors of my own I regretted. The novel closed with a very hopeful note without being too cheesy, and I think many folks who want a summer read with a little more emotion might enjoy this one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jenny GB

    Full Disclosure: I received a signed copy of this book from the author through Shelf Awareness. What a nice feel-good book this was and a quick read, too. The main character of the novel is Marissa, a girl who has a nice life, but typically finds herself at the mercy of other people. She's sweet and easy going so people take some advantage of that, especially her best friend Julia who is a great deal more social and charismatic. I quickly grew to like Marissa. She has typical female insecurities Full Disclosure: I received a signed copy of this book from the author through Shelf Awareness. What a nice feel-good book this was and a quick read, too. The main character of the novel is Marissa, a girl who has a nice life, but typically finds herself at the mercy of other people. She's sweet and easy going so people take some advantage of that, especially her best friend Julia who is a great deal more social and charismatic. I quickly grew to like Marissa. She has typical female insecurities about her body, career, and relationships that I feel I can relate to throughout the book. I've known many Julia's in my life that make things so much more interesting, but at the same time have overpowering personalities that can lead to you playing a supporting role in their life. The interesting twist here is that Julia has a traumatic brain injury which is leading her to act differently and in particular not sensor what she says or does as she used to do. Marissa throughout the novel basically has a self-awakening. She realizes that people might not always have her best interests at heart and learns to stick up for herself. Some of this comes through her volunteering at Take the Lead (really just a renaming of Girls on the Run) and it also comes from some comments from her boyfriend and a random old woman in the park. Kudos to Pagan for pointing out a great organization and possibly doing a little recruiting through this book. Finally, Marissa learns how to confront her overbearing mother and get the truth from Julia as to why she keeps bringing Marissa's ex-boyfriend, Nathan, to events with Marissa. I think the most beautiful and surprising thing about this book for me was the love story. Marissa has two great guys vying for her attention. Nathan is the more mysterious, spontaneous guy that swept her off her feet in college but that she broke up with to save her friendship. Then there's Dave who is dedicated to his work and in some ways predictable, but sweet and loving to Marissa. Usually books love to portrait woman taking great romantic leaps and making emotional choices, but here the relationship is treated very realistically as Marissa struggles with her decision and eventually chooses. I was delighted with her choice and the life that she envisions for herself. I really recommend this book for something refreshing, real, and happy. Usually my book choices don't have such happy endings!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annika

    The Art of Forgetting is a beautiful and moving story about friendship, family, love and forgiving. Marissa Rogers has achieved her dream, something she dreamed about with her best friend Julia. She’s living in New York, working as a journalist at a magazine. It was not her first choice but to become an editor in chief she goes with it. She has a wonderful boyfriend and along with Julia several good friends. But then tragedy strikes on a day she was supposed to meet Julia. A cab hits Julia, resul The Art of Forgetting is a beautiful and moving story about friendship, family, love and forgiving. Marissa Rogers has achieved her dream, something she dreamed about with her best friend Julia. She’s living in New York, working as a journalist at a magazine. It was not her first choice but to become an editor in chief she goes with it. She has a wonderful boyfriend and along with Julia several good friends. But then tragedy strikes on a day she was supposed to meet Julia. A cab hits Julia, resulting in her having her brain badly injured. Suddenly Marissa and Julia’s friendship is completely turned upside down. The first thing that drew me to the The Art of Forgetting was its gorgeous cover. I love ballet so when I saw the cover I immediately knew I had to have the book, the summary confirming it all over again. As we follow Marissa over the course of the book we really get to know her, her life, how her mind works. I really enjoyed reading her POV, even though I had my problems with her. Marissa lacks self-esteem and it shows in almost everything she thinks or does. She has always been easily manipulated by the people in her life but as we follow her she comes into her own and stands up to the people who have been trying to direct her life for her. Marissa’s friendship with Julia is not a well-balanced one. To me it seemed like Marissa gave more than she received from Julia, something that hasn’t changed over many years of friendship. But after Julia’s accident things changed and Marissa brings it in a new direction. I especially loved reading about Marissa’s relationship with Dave and her relationship with her sister Sarah, both which were developed beautifully. I really have to give props to Noe Pagan for that. My favourite part of the book was the inclusion of Take the Lead. The scenes made me teary-eyed more than once and the final scene was especially heart-warming and uplifting. The Art of Forgetting is a wonderful debut, one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys reading character and relationship studies. I’m eagerly looking forward to Camille Noe Pagan’s next novel and I cannot wait to get my own copy of The Art of Forgetting once it comes out. ** An ARC of this book was provided by Netgalley and the publisher for reviewing purposes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Laceby

    Originally Reviewed at Novel Escapes The Art of Forgetting is a novel about the ultimate test of friendship. When Julia, the more dominant force in the duo, suffers a brain injury leaving her forgetful along with drastic personality changes, Marissa suffers along with her. The loss of her best friend leaves her reeling and questioning everything now that Julia’s filter seems to be gone and she keeps reliving the past and trudging up old issues. I enjoyed Marissa’s character and seeing her grow wit Originally Reviewed at Novel Escapes The Art of Forgetting is a novel about the ultimate test of friendship. When Julia, the more dominant force in the duo, suffers a brain injury leaving her forgetful along with drastic personality changes, Marissa suffers along with her. The loss of her best friend leaves her reeling and questioning everything now that Julia’s filter seems to be gone and she keeps reliving the past and trudging up old issues. I enjoyed Marissa’s character and seeing her grow without Julia’s constant overbearing input. Taken under Julia’s wing as an impressionable young teenager, Marissa grows complacent in her role and never takes time to find herself or figure things out without someone else’s input. I liked how her self development and independence mirrored Julia’s newfound dependence through out the novel as they switched roles. I thought both characters were well developed and I enjoyed the ‘one that got away’ storyline and how the history between the two friends and Marissa’s ex-boyfriend was slowly revealed. Not only is this novel about forgetting, but forgiving as well and I loved how Julia’s brain injury forced them to deal with past issues that had never completely healed. This novel never progressed entirely as I expected. I thought the conclusion was satisfying and the entire concept fascinating. What if my best friend was suddenly replaced by a stranger, albeit one that looked exactly like her? What if I had to learn to love her all over again? What if we didn’t get along anymore? What would I do? This novel was great for questioning both life and love, and especially friendship. I did wish the relationship with the sister was developed a little further and I was surprised by how little the novel actually had to do with ballet and although ballet isn’t one of my most favourite things in the world, I think I would have liked to see a bit more considering the dominant theme the cover insinuated. Pick up The Art of Forgetting today if you’re looking for a great one about friendship! I look forward to reading more from Camile Noe Pagan.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The following review initially appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers on Friday, June 24, 2011. Camille Noe Pagán’s engaging debut novel offers a brief glance at a vision of “what might have been” for Marissa Rogers, a timid but likeable character. Marissa is a diet editor for Svelte, a fictional women’s diet and health magazine, whose readers are, not surprisingly, more interested in celebrity diets than they are in less frivolous health issues. At the beginning of the novel, Julia Ferrar—Maris The following review initially appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers on Friday, June 24, 2011. Camille Noe Pagán’s engaging debut novel offers a brief glance at a vision of “what might have been” for Marissa Rogers, a timid but likeable character. Marissa is a diet editor for Svelte, a fictional women’s diet and health magazine, whose readers are, not surprisingly, more interested in celebrity diets than they are in less frivolous health issues. At the beginning of the novel, Julia Ferrar—Marissa’s longtime friend, whose assertive nature has always complemented Marissa’s diffidence, is hit by a car, suffering a traumatic brain injury that almost completely modifies her personality. While some of the side-effects Julia suffers—such as minor memory loss, a higher-pitched voice, and a fixation on all things purple—are relatively innocuous, others churn up memories from Marissa’s past that she would rather forget, including the ex-boyfriend she gave up at Julia’s request. Pagán’s dialogue is punctuated with piquant wit and snappy pop culture references, resulting in an upbeat, inspirational novel that tackles the serious topic of traumatic brain injury with warmth and sincerity, while avoiding being overly preachy. As women and the very nature of their relationships with one another are explored with great care, the reflective tone and conversational writing style of the novel contributes a feeling of comfort, reminiscent of talking candidly to a close friend about one’s troubles. At the heart of Marissa’s transformation is her evolution from reluctant volunteer for Take the Lead—an organization inspired by the real, live Girls on the Run—to a confident woman, grateful for the lessons she is unwittingly taught by the girls she is meant to be teaching. Through her amazing personal growth, Marissa discovers that she has the power to be the self-confident woman she once saw in her best friend. Fans of Elizabeth Berg are sure to enjoy this exciting new voice.

  26. 4 out of 5

    marymurtz

    Marissa Rogers and Julia Farrar have been best friends since high school. Julia is an accomplished and confident woman, with a magnetic personality and a rising career as a publicist for a New York ballet company. Marissa is an associate magazine editor, and with both women living out their dream jobs, life seems to be ideal. Then, on her way to dinner with Marissa, Julia is struck by a car and sustains a terrible head injury. When she wakes up, she first can't remember anything, and then she rec Marissa Rogers and Julia Farrar have been best friends since high school. Julia is an accomplished and confident woman, with a magnetic personality and a rising career as a publicist for a New York ballet company. Marissa is an associate magazine editor, and with both women living out their dream jobs, life seems to be ideal. Then, on her way to dinner with Marissa, Julia is struck by a car and sustains a terrible head injury. When she wakes up, she first can't remember anything, and then she recognizes friends and family but is a completely different person. Marissa wants to be there for her friend, but finds that Julia is no longer diplomatic, blurting her deepest thoughts about Marissa's life to her without filter, and worst of all, trying to get Julia to abandon her boyfriend and get back together with an old flame. I almost abandoned this book. Oh great, I thought, the third or fourth amnesia book in a month! I began to violently dislike the main character and had trouble caring where the story was going. It wasn't fair that I started reading it immediately after reading one of the best books I've read in years, either. I put this one aside for a few days and after some intervening palate-cleansing books, went back to it. And it grew on me. I began to care about the narrator, especially after it became clear that Marissa was the main character and not her best friend, Julia. I thought the author did a good job of character development and portraying the after-effects of traumatic brain injury. Family dynamics were vivid and believable, and most of all, I felt that I cared what happened to the characters in this book. While it wasn't the most thrilling of stories, it was well crafted, paced perfectly, and did not sacrifice characters to advance the story. All in all, it was a solid and, ultimately (thankfully) satisfying read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    Teaser Synopsis: When Julia calls to me, I immediately think of Dr. Bauer's warning: She may not be the same person you knew two days ago. [p.14] * Uncorrected ARC Click here for a full synopsis. First thoughts after finishing this book: Yes, this was the way it was supposed to turn out!! I really liked Marissa and was so happy that she finally learned to stand on her own two feet!! This was a great book that centers around Marissa and her insecurities. It isn't until her best friend Julia suffers Teaser Synopsis: When Julia calls to me, I immediately think of Dr. Bauer's warning: She may not be the same person you knew two days ago. [p.14] * Uncorrected ARC Click here for a full synopsis. First thoughts after finishing this book: Yes, this was the way it was supposed to turn out!! I really liked Marissa and was so happy that she finally learned to stand on her own two feet!! This was a great book that centers around Marissa and her insecurities. It isn't until her best friend Julia suffers a traumatic head injury that she realizes she's lived her life for Julia and not for herself. I can't imagine how hard it would be to have someone close to you change their personality over night due to something totally out of their control. One day Julia seems herself and then the next she's wearing clothes that look like they might have came from a thrift store. Marissa has to learn how to manage her life without Julia dictating her every move. She also learns to feel good about herself and embrace that lovely woman inside. Recommend? Yes, this is a good book about life changing events and decisions, how far would you push the boundaries of your friendship, second chances, body image, and eventually believing in yourself. Would I change anything? The ending...it was just a tad too abrupt for me. Other than that I was totally engaged in the story and felt that Marissa and I would've been great friends!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    The Lonely book club

    Full review can be found at: The Lonely book-club [Direct link] where it was originally posted The protagonist in this book is the magazine editor Marissa. All her life she’s been happy sitting in the backseat in her own life, and her achievements are a little above average. She has a wonderful boyfriend and she’s, hopefully, about to be made editor-in-chief for the magazine she works for [Svelte]. Despite of her “luck” she isn’t happy. On the inside she is insecure and she has thought about “tho Full review can be found at: The Lonely book-club [Direct link] where it was originally posted The protagonist in this book is the magazine editor Marissa. All her life she’s been happy sitting in the backseat in her own life, and her achievements are a little above average. She has a wonderful boyfriend and she’s, hopefully, about to be made editor-in-chief for the magazine she works for [Svelte]. Despite of her “luck” she isn’t happy. On the inside she is insecure and she has thought about “those ten pounds” for eternity. When her best friend, Julia the ballerina, is hit by a car and losses all her memories, Marissa is forced to take grip on her own life. Julia got her brain injured and when she wakes up at the hospital she’s no longer the friend Marissa is used to have. Marissa’s problems may seem like small problems that one should really bother much about. But in the end it is the small problems just as much as the small happy things that makes our day. Marissa’s life isn’t easy, she might have many of the things people dream of, but as long as the inside isn’t healed one cannot take in happiness and love ourselves or others. And her life doesn’t get any easier when Julia gets obsessed with getting Marissa back together with Nathan, an old flame Julia forced her to break up with in their college years As and over all I really enjoyed this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    THE ART OF FORGETTING by Camille Noe Pagán is a young adult novel, and my four-star rating is for a YA book. I made the mistake of assuming it was a more advanced book, which I prefer, and would give it one star that. But I don't think one star would be fair just because I accidentally picked the wrong book for me. I call this YA, but I'm over 50, and the term "chick lit" is new to me. I suppose that people more familiar with "chick lit" would call it that. But THE ART OF FORGETTING is one of the THE ART OF FORGETTING by Camille Noe Pagán is a young adult novel, and my four-star rating is for a YA book. I made the mistake of assuming it was a more advanced book, which I prefer, and would give it one star that. But I don't think one star would be fair just because I accidentally picked the wrong book for me. I call this YA, but I'm over 50, and the term "chick lit" is new to me. I suppose that people more familiar with "chick lit" would call it that. But THE ART OF FORGETTING is one of the types of novels I read as a young adult. Therefore, I call it YA. I've read a couple of Kristin Hannah's books for book groups. I didn't like them; at the same time, I know that this style is popular with many. If you are one of these, you'll like THE ART OF FORGETTING. In short, Marissa and Julia are two best best friends (a favorite subject of chic lit and Kristin Hannah books) who met in high school, stayed best friends through college, and are even now that they are each successful career women. They apparently are friends to the point that Marissa even gave up the love of her life at Julia's urging 10 years earlier. Now Julia has suffered a severe head injury and forgets parts of her past, including this.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Excellent novel that broke the conventions of chick lit writing as I'm accustomed to it by taking on a more serious subject, that of brain trauma. Marissa and Julia have been friends for so long; they have seen each other through countless ups and downs; they've had jealous fights, gone to graduations and on first dates; traveled from Michigan to New York. They have been virtually inseparable until now. When a terrible car accident sends Julia to the hospital with a serious head injury, Marissa Excellent novel that broke the conventions of chick lit writing as I'm accustomed to it by taking on a more serious subject, that of brain trauma. Marissa and Julia have been friends for so long; they have seen each other through countless ups and downs; they've had jealous fights, gone to graduations and on first dates; traveled from Michigan to New York. They have been virtually inseparable until now. When a terrible car accident sends Julia to the hospital with a serious head injury, Marissa doesn't know if she'll ever get her friend back. Even with Julia's injury, life goes on but the accident seems to affect every facet of Marissa's life - mostly by changing her perspective on things. She starts questioning her career at Svelte, a magazine dedicated to educating young women about weight loss and nutriton; her relationship with attorney, Dave; and probably most nerve-wracking, her ex-boyfriend Nathan comes back into her life and Julia gets a glimpse of what could have been but never was.

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