All Lulu Carter wants is to be seen. But her parents are lost in their own worlds, and Lulu has learned the hard way that having something as rare as HSAM—the ability to remember almost every single moment in her life—won’t make you popular in school.
At least Lulu has Gram, who knows the truth about Lulu’s memory and loves her all the more for it. But Gram has started becoming absentminded, and the more lost she gets, the more she depends on Lulu…until Lulu realizes her memory holds the very key to fixing Gram’s forgetfulness. Once Lulu learns that trauma can cause amnesia, all she needs to do to cure Gram is hunt down that one painful moment in Gram’s life.
With her friends Olivia and Max, Lulu digs into Gram’s mysterious past. But they soon realize some secrets should stay buried, and Lulu wonders if she ever knew Gram at all. It’s up to Lulu to uncover the truth before the only person who truly sees her slips away.
I loved the family dynamics in this story. Lulu’s family wasn’t perfect but they were real. Her father was a professor who worked a lot; her mother was an artist who spent days cooped up in her home studio. While Lulu grew distant from her mom and dad in recent years, she was closest to her Gram, who looked after both her and her baby brother. When Gram began to lose her memory, Lulu thought that there could be one traumatic memory in her past that was responsible for her Gram’s forgetfulness. She embarked on a hunt for her Gram’s past with her two friends, Olivia and Max.
I loved Lulu who was intelligent, resourceful and brave. She and her friends certainly formed an unstoppable trio when it came to solving mysteries. I loved reading about Lulu and Olivia’s friendship which had their ups and downs, and it was fun to read about Lulu and Max who became good friends over the course of the story. Gram was the highlight of the story. Not only was she the caregiver for Lulu and her brother, she also had a childhood of her own, and a life that was filled with joy and sadness.
Throughout the story, I was swept along with Lulu, Olivia and Max’s adventure to find out Gram’s past. I had an inkling of suspicion where things would end up at the end, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to turn the pages because I was invested with the amazing cast of characters.
Although dementia is a heavy topic, I appreciate that this story approached it with an upbeat and playful vibe while handling it with sensitivity. I loved the ending of the story, which felt so heartfelt and real.
The Memory Keeper was a story that made me laugh and cry. Lulu and her family would stay in my mind long after I’ve turned the last page. Whether you are a middle grader, a teen, or an adult (like me!) I would definitely recommend this book!