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Persistence of Memory    by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes order for
Persistence of Memory
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Vampire Shevaun and Erin Misrahe share memories. Diagnosed as a schizophrenic with psychotic tendencies, Erin has spent most of her life in psychiatric hospitals. Finally at sixteen, she is well enough to leave the hospital. She is even allowed to attend public school for the first time since she was six.

Shevaun realizes that she and Erin have an attachment after she has a frightening encounter with vampire hunters and shapechangers that almost leads to her death. Adjila, her constant companion and a powerful witch, saves her, but her injuries take time to heal and while she is unconscious she becomes aware of Erin. She is furious that this girl can slip into her life without her knowing, and she wants nothing more than to kill her.

Unlike Shevaun, Erin has always known about her alter ego, but she doesn't believe Shevaun exists outside of her own hallucinations. Erin wants to be a normal teenager and if it takes a fistful of pills a day to keep her out of the hospital she'll take them and ignore her hallucinations and Shevaun.

Persistence of Memory is a twisted tale of a teenage girl who desires normalcy and a vampire who believes the only way to be rid of the parasite who has access to her mind is to kill her. This is my first Atwater-Rhodes book, but it won't be my last.

2nd Review by Ricki Marking-Camuto:

Vampires are the hot topic right now for YA literature. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes has been writing vampires for a while, but this is still the perfect time for the release of her newest novel, Persistence of Memory.

Erin Misrahe has been in and out of psychiatric institutions her whole life, suffering from schizophrenia and panic attacks. Luckily, the past two years have been relatively calm, and she has even started attending a regular public school. When her new friend Marissa asks her to join the fencing team, Erin is apprehensive at first but decides to give it a go. When during practice one day she thinks she witnesses Marissa change into a tiger, she goes into a panic attack and wakes up as her alter, Shevaun.

However, this time things are different. This time, Erin is aware of both herself and Shevaun and Shevaun's friends seem to know her. When she recovers, she is still a little freaked out, but decides to put it behind her. This becomes a lot harder than anticipated when she starts seeing Shevaun's friends in her home town. Now, with the help of Marissa, an old friend from one of the institutions, and Shevaun's lover, Erin learns that her alter is real ... and is a vampire.

Persistence of Memory has a new angle to the typical vampire story. Atwater-Rhodes tells the tale from both Erin's and Shevaun's points of view, but this can sometimes be confusing and makes it hard for the reader to form a true connection with either character. Also, while Marissa is a strong and likeable character, as is Shevaun's lover Adjila, Erin's love interest Sassy could have been more fleshed-out to make him more likeable. The climax and resolution, however, are well-done though slightly predictable.

Persistence of Memory has an edginess not often seen in typical YA fiction, and though Amelia Atwater-Rhodes takes a familiar topic and puts a unique spin on it, I found the story lacking in an inability to really connect with the characters.

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