From What I Remember starts with a bang when class geek Kylie wakes up with a killer hangover and realises she's in bed with Max, one of the hottest boys from school and someone who she never really spoken to before. Kylie has no idea what happened the night before and how she ended up not just in bed with Max but also wearing a wedding ring! If that wasn't bad enough she also realises that they are in Mexico and she has just hours to get back to their school in America so she can give the valedictorian speech at her class graduation. The story then skips back two days and we follow Kylie and Max on the journey that takes them not just across an international boarder but also across the social divide as the geek and the jock realise that they have more in common than they'd imagine and perhaps they could even become friends.
I wasn't too sure what to expect from this book, I thought the premise sounded fun and was looking forward to reading it but I had no idea how much I'd actually end up enjoying myself. I lost count of the number of times I snorted with laughter while reading and even thinking about the book to write my review makes me want to pick it back up and read it all over again. The story is cleverly written and perfectly paced allowing the mystery to unravel slowly while giving us real insight into the lives of both our main characters. The events that occur are completely bonkers but utterly brilliant and the whole book definitely has a movie vibe to it (you can tell that both authors have worked as screen writers in the past), the random way events unfolded throughout the story was fantastic and it meant you never had a clue what would happen next.
The characters were wonderful, all so individual that I never had trouble figuring out who was narrating each chapter even though the story is told from several points of view. The main characters are Kylie, who is a smart, hard working girl who spends as much time caring for her family as she does working at keeping her perfect grades, and Max, the sporty jock who is a member of the popular crowd and doesn't really care about school work as long as he isn't failing classes. To look at them you'd think they couldn't be more different but under the surface they have a lot in common and even the differences between them help to balance each other out. Kylie takes the weight of the world on her shoulders, her brother suffers with aspergers and she cares for him after school while her mother works nights. I absolutely loved the relationship between Kylie and Jake, it is obvious how much she loves her brother but I did feel sorry for her the way she was given so much responsibility and had so little time to be a normal teenager. Max seems to have an easy life but he is struggling just as much as Kylie, his father is sick but his whole family is in denial about it. Max feels that he has to live up to his fathers expectations and that means he isn't free to chase his own hopes and dreams. Max has a tendency to take the easy way out, he doesn't want to rock the boat so he goes along with whatever everyone around him wants. Kylie on the other hand is much more determined to create the future she has always dreamed of, she may not have much confidence when it comes to talking to others but she has a great believe in herself and her abilities which was really refreshing.
As much as I loved Kylie and Max the story wouldn't have been the same without Kylie's best friend Will. Will provides much of the humour in the story, I loved the way he was always ready with a quip to make the others laugh. He cares deeply for Kylie and has always tried to encourage her to loosen up a bit so he is thrilled when she does something so crazy as getting herself stranded in Mexico. Will doesn't just provide the light relief though, he has his own issues to deal with and I enjoyed watching him work through some of his problems throughout the story. I also really appreciated the parts of the story that are told from Jake's perspective, it can be hard to capture the voice of someone with aspergers but I thought the authors did that perfectly in this case. The only character I really didn't like was Lily but considering she is Max's girlfriend I don't think we're supposed to be routing for her.
From What I Remember is a great coming of age story, a fun road trip and a fantastic reminder not to judge people by appearances, it is also full of action, adventure, humour & romance and is a book you don't want to miss. The writing by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas blends together flawlessly and I found it impossible to tell this book was written by two different people, I really want to read more from them both in the future, especially anything they write together. If you're unsure about reading this book I recommend finding a copy in your local book shop and reading the prologue, I pretty much guarantee that after those couple of pages you'll want to keep reading to find out what happens next!