"[A] gripping, emotional story set in the part of history we’ll never forget." - New York Daily News
On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows, covered in ash, and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a NYC detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? The Memory of Things tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain—it tells a story of hope.
This somber yet hopeful novel from Polisner (The Summer of Letting Go) begins on the morning of September 11, 2001, with her teenage protagonist, Kyle Donahue, fleeing across the Brooklyn Bridge, worrying about his first-responder father, his mother who is flying home from California, and his incapacitated uncle who needs his care. While on the bridge, Kyle runs into a girl covered in ash and wearing angel wings, and takes her home. Referred to as "the girl" throughout most of the novel, due to her amnesia, her presence adds a dimension of mystery to this story. As Polisner delves into one of the most emotionally wrenching days in modern American history, Kyle's narration gives a play-by-play-like overview that's frequently interrupted by short, free-verse passages that reflect the girl's confused mental state. The tentative romantic feelings that develop between Kyle and the girl read more like a detour than an integral aspect of the plot, but they underscore the uncertainty, bewilderment, and grasped-for sense of connection during the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Ages 12 up.