The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur
Published by Sky Pony on November 18, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble
Add to: Goodreads

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Seventeen-year-old Genesis Lee has never forgotten anything. As one of the Mementi—a small group of genetically-enhanced humans—Gena remembers everything with the help of her Link bracelets, which preserve memories perfectly. But Links can be stolen, and six people have already lost their lives to a memory thief, including Gena’s best friend.
Anyone could be next. Which is why Gena is less than pleased to meet a strange but charming boy named Kalan who claims that they’ve not only met, but that Gena knows who the thief is.
The problem is, Gena doesn’t remember Kalan, she doesn’t remember seeing the thief, and she doesn’t know why she’s forgetting things— or how much else she might forget. As growing tensions between Mementi and ordinary humans drive the city of Havendale into chaos, Gena and Kalan team up to search for the thief. And as Gena loses more memories, they realize they have to solve the mystery fast.
Because Gena’s life is unhappening around her.


A world where every single memory is recorded and kept in crystal clear recollections. Not just what happened, but how it felt. Then, the ability to pass memories and feelings down after your death. This is the world Genesis Lee lives in. For Genesis, aka Gena, her entire world holds a strong sense of certainty. That is, until she and her best friend are both victims of a memory thief.

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur is such an interesting read! It’s a truly refreshing book with a unique sci-fi/dystopian concept that you rarely find in the overly saturated YA market that seems to spend most of its time focusing on love triangles and romantic leads; and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that if you want romance in your YA. It just becomes tiring when it moves to the forefront of what is expected out of a YA novel.

Our main protagonist is Genesis “Gena” Lee, an Asian-American teenager. She is part of the elite group called Mementi who remember everything thanks to physical beads/links they wear at all times. They came about after years of cerebral experimentation that did have severe consequences on those that survived the initial procedures. Now, years later, this small group of elite humans have their own closed off community, while the Populace, non-Mementi humans, look at them with anger and suspicion.

Still, teenagers being teenagers, Gena and her BFF Cora find themselves at a mixed population party when suddenly an attack! Someone is going around stealing Mementi memories. Part of Cora’s memories are stolen and Gena is sympathetic, horrified that someone could do that, not realising that she too has lost a memory, even though all of her “links” are present. Enter, the “love interest” Kalan, a Populace boy Gena ran into the night Cora had her memories stolen. Unable to remember Kalan, Gena is forced to rely on his faulty memories to track down the thief as she slowly starts losing more and more memories. Is there romance? Minimal in my estimation. The focus of the story remains on Gena at all times, through the search for the memory thief and her relationship with her family.

One thing Ms. McArthur does extremely well is portray the sense of anxiety, anger, and confusion present in all of the victims of memory loss. Their memories are gone, but the emotions behind those memories still remain. It is reminiscent of what happens to Alzheimer’s victims. Ms. McArthur also does a fantastic job of creating a well fleshed character in Gena, a strong female protagonist that shows women can be smart AND girly, that can like a boy without having to be dumbed down.

The Unhappening of Genesis Lee by Shallee McArthur is a great YA dystopian read with an awesome female protagonist and an incredibly interesting plot with a twist to the ending you don’t see coming, but accept.


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