Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.
It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.
Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.
In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes the hellish prison.
But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.
I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review is based on an uncorrected Netgalley proof.
With its engaging premise, Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn immediately drew my interest. Though I am not as fluent in the free will versus determinism debate as I would like, the contents of the dialectic fascinate me more than the truth itself. If you share my perspective, then perhaps you will enjoy Forget Tomorrow, which offers some surprising insight into the question as well as a subtle discourse on social constructionism.
Forget Tomorrow is set in a future where ‘future memories’ – a memory sent from the future and received by the individual on their seventeenth birthday – is integral to the most significant rite of passage in one’s life. With this memory, seventeen year old’s are given a glimpse into the future that will dictate their life and their aspirations. As the protagonist describes, future memory isn’t just a predictor – it is a guarantee.
With something so integral and pivotal to an individual’s life and, in extension, society’s future, the functionality of society is widely centred on the existence of future memory. Even normality is redefined, and Dunn raises some valid points about the social constructions that we take for granted. All school children are given another name: their birthday or ‘the time remaining until their future memory is received’, and powerful institutions such as The Future Memory Agency (FuMA), arbiters of future memory, have palpably strong political and economic influence.
For a YA novel, Forget Tomorrow presents compelling insights to how something such as ‘future memory’ can have such widespread influences to how we construct, understand, and give meaning to the world around us. When the protagonist, Callie, receives her future memory and discovers that she commits a horrifying crime, her life is thrown into chaos, denial, and fear as she is caught in between trying to escape her future, imprisonment, and the discovery of the terrible extent FuMA will go to uphold the infallibility of future memory. There is a brief but interesting subtle narrative on criminality; that criminals may be people who do bad things, but that crime and the law are social constructs also. The revelations about crime and its function in society are surprisingly profound and thought-provoking. If there is something I appreciate about Dunn’s writing, it is that she respects the intelligence of her audience.
Forget Tomorrow partly contributes to the free will versus determinism debate – with the future set before her, is Callie able to escape the pull of Fate? Is there such a thing as free will? Is it possible to escape her future altogether? And if we can, will Fate cheat us into crossing paths with her? Though some of these questions are not entirely answered and the ending raises more questions than answers, Callie’s conflict and inner struggle are thoroughly explored and thus enjoyable to read.
Aside from Callie, a protagonist I liked, the other characters are somewhat neglected development-wise. The saving grace of this novel is that supporting characters are generally likable, and I expect we will learn more about them in the later books. The romance in the novel was sweet – perhaps not an ideal element for a book of this genre, but I expect the romantic interest will endure some hardships and misgivings especially since his future memory promises wonderful things. (If free-will is further explored in the Forget Tomorrow series, I would be very much inclined to read it.) After all, it seems that Forget Tomorrow hinges its character development on their actions or lack of, especially pertaining to future memories. Many characters with interesting and twisted future memories were introduced, and I expect these characters and their destinies will be revealed in due time.
I have left my discussion about future memory and the developments that entail for last, because there was one detriment to my enjoyment of the book: Forget Tomorrow is a YA version of Minority Report. The similarities the two share are glaringly obvious and inescapable. What Forget Tomorrow explores, Minority Report has explored already, especially the incorporation of precognition and its significance in the plot. Perhaps if themes or ideas were explored differently, even with Minority Report‘s influence, this book could have been better, more enjoyable and original. My hope is that the sequels will diverge from Minority Report and find its own identity.
If you have not read or watched Minority Report, you will find Forget Tomorrow refreshing, enjoyable, and philosophically engaging. Forget Tomorrow presents some fascinating ideas and questions that readers may enjoy asking themselves as an exercise of self-perception or introspection. If you have, like me, then Forget Tomorrow will feel unoriginal and repetitive. Regardless, Forget Tomorrow has its merits, and is a decent start to – what I expect will be – a fun series that will get progressively darker and grittier with each installment. And I look forward to it.
Book Name: Forget Tomorrow
Book Series: Forget Tomorrow #1
Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Entangled: Teen