I finally finished this middle school read I picked up ages go. I read the synopsis prior to the book’s publication and put it on my must read list. A must read it was not. Well, that’s not quite fair. The book serves a purpose and for that purpose it was very well done, but it was a slow starter.
The Memory Wall by Lev AC Rosen walks the line between reality and fiction. Nick Reeves is a twelve-year-old boy of mixed races who faces everyday problems like bullying, starting middle school, and making new friends. But he also has a very atypical problem. Nick mom has Alzheimer’s, or at least that is what they tell him. Nick doesn’t believe his mom is forgetting him and tries to convince everyone that it must be something else. But no one believes him and the book begins with Nick and his dad dropping his mom off at a home.
To escape his problems, Nick plays a MMORPG called Wellhall. In this game he plays an orphaned grey elf names Severkin, who goes on adventures and battles giants. Nick is convinced that his mom is playing the game at the home and is leaving hints for him in the game that will somehow bring her home. Nick’s new best friend Nat also plays the game and together they hunt for clues and work to uncover the truth.
This book is told from two perspectives: that of Nick the middle-schooler and Severkin the grey elf. When edges blur and the game begins to feel like reality, will Nick be able to recognize the truth when he sees it?
This book would be very prevalent with a certain audience: children and early teens dealing with a parent who is ill or even struggling with addiction. In this vein, The Memory Wall does a great job of showing how many kids deal (and let’s be honest adults) with a serious shake up in their routines. Denial, anger, frustration, bargaining, making excuses, and more. We see all of this in Nick. In this sense Nick is very relatable and could be very important to kids dealing with the same sorts of problems.
Now, I picked up this book for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to read a middle school book I could recommend for boys. Something that would appeal to my often reluctant boy readers. And what better than a book that includes online role-playing video games that are so popular with that crowd. I’ve also played MORPG games in the past, so I was intrigued. Lastly, the idea of a video game colliding with real life seemed like such a neat idea to me because let’s face it, people get SOOO into these games that it can take over ones life. But this isn’t really what happens in the book–it is but only on a superficial level. Part of me was hoping to read a book where real life was influenced by the game, not the other way around.
A few problems I had with this book was that it had a really slow start. I just couldn’t get into it and the mystery element of is she or isn’t she, doesn’t show up until a good 50 pages in. There were also a few loose ends that were frustrating. We get this bully, Charlie, and he says awful things and we even get his back story but that’s it. We don’t find out if our suspicions are correct and there is no real resolution there. There are a few instances like this throughout the book .
Overall, this was a read that will be very meaningful to certain people. For what it is, it was well done. I’d even recommend it to young gamers because the Severkin chapters were really well done. But I think I will be in the minority in my ranking of 3 stars. It was a fine book but I felt like I was only reading it to finish and that is never a good feeling.
That’s all for now!