Monday, March 21, 2016

"In the Hope of Memories" by Olivia Rivers

In the Hope of Memories
by Olivia Rivers

In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers has just been released. This book blitz and giveaway is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours. I liked the sound of this one so much, that I bought myself a copy and read it straight away. And, boy, am I glad I did. You can read my review below.

Hope is dying.
Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.
Hope is dead.
Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together.
Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.
Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.
Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.
And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.
Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.
Hope is within reach.

Spray-painted on the back wall of the alley is a bloodied scimitar, its handle a wickedly curved hourglass. It should be ugly - it’s basically just a really big knife with blood on it. But it’s beautiful, because it’s clearly one of Hope’s works, and she put just as much detail into this piece of art as she did with her others.
Over the years, I’ve seen dozens of pictures of Hope’s graffiti, but I’ve never actually seen it in person. I do my best to avoid the whole juvenile delinquency thing, even when it’s just tiny things like spray-painting alleys. Now I’m regretting turning her down all those times she asked me to come with her while she painted. I want to know how she does it—this sort of artwork looks like it belongs in a fancy museum, and it doesn’t seem humanly possible that it was made from three-dollar cans of spray-paint.
Then again, Hope was good at that - doing the impossible. She was the only one who ever managed to see me as "quirky" and "dedicated", instead of all the other names people usually use.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"I can't even explain how GREAT this book is ... it pulled me in and spit me out a completely different reader. Can I give it 10 stars? I haven't read a book this amazing (and life changing) since Hopkins's Crank. Olivia Rivers uses an unusual narration style to fully capture each characters voice. Her plot and characters are enthralling and their individual journeys are both heart wrenching and inspiring. If you love stories about young adults and their first ventures into adulthood (and the harsh reality of life) this book is for you! Kudos to Olivia Rivers for crafting a intricate tale like no other!" ~ CVella
"Once in a while a book comes along that's pure magic. A book that has enough depth for you to get lost in it for days. A book that is original, thought-provoking and like nothing you've ever read before. A book that puts you through an emotional blender and when it spits you out, you are a bit different than before you read it. A bit wiser, a little more understanding, a little less judgmental and very much in love. In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers is exactly that type of book." ~ Paula
"This was a quick read, mainly because it was so enjoyable, and things were happening pretty fast, it was hard to put down, in case something else happened I was only too happy to read it and devour it quickly. Ms Rivers has a great future ahead of her in the YA genre if this is what she intends on producing. Great work, well deserving of five stars." ~ Kathy, Ahmazing Book Faerie
" ... like a modern-day Breakfast Club - four immensely different and quirky characters searching for themselves. I literally laughed and cried in the first chapter, and by the end of the book, my son was very concerned about me because my tears wouldn't stop. Seriously, it is that moving. [...] If there is any fairness in the world, this book will be HUGE. I suggest you get it as fast as you possibly can." ~ Lauren Stewart
"Perfect ... "  ~ Josie Wright

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
On Hope's eighteenth birthday - two days after she dies - her friends set off on a scavenger hunt around New York City. Erik, Aiden, Kali, and Sam all come from different walks of life and have never met each other before, but they all have something in common - Hope, and the fact that they are all broken. According to Hope and her favorite Red String of Fate myth, "some people are destined to change the fates of others." Under Hope's guidance, will this bunch of misfits be able to heal each other?
The story is told by four very different characters with very distinct voices. Erik's narrative is full of sarcasm, while Aiden's complete ignorance of sarcasm is the perfect foil. I especially love Kali's passages, so touchingly filled with sadness and self-loathing. But my favorite character is Sam, whose text talk is full of humor and extremely insightful. Oh, and let's not forget Schrodinger the cat!
This book reminded me of You Were Here by Cori McCarthy, which I read just recently (read my blog post), where a major character dies before the book begins and where a character's art is integral to the story. Because Hope's - and even Kali's - artwork is such a large part of this story, I wish the author had followed McCarthy's lead and included illustrations in this book. It would have added an extra, beautiful dimension to this already wonderful story.
In the Hope of Memories had me in tears on more than one occasion. If you only read one book this year, make it this one.

Interview With the Author
Can you tell us a little about your new book?
Absolutely! In the Hope of Memories is the story of Hope, a young, eccentric graffiti artist who’s stuck in the foster system. When Hope gets diagnosed with a terminal heart condition, she realizes that her four best friends are on the brink of ruining their lives, and that they might not be okay once she’s dead and not there to support them anymore. So she creates an elaborate scavenger hunt using her graffiti art that’s meant to "fix" her friends so she can die in peace and know they’ll be alright without her.
Do you have a favorite character?
Asking authors this question is like asking a parent who their favorite child is. So my answer is Aiden, because I am terrible enough to actually pick favorites. Aiden is intensely logical, loyal, and moral. He’s a total sweetheart, and I see him as being everything that’s right with the world. But since he has OCD and an autism spectrum disorder, the world sees him as being "wrong", just because no one else understands him. As an author, writing Aiden’s character was both a heart-warming and gut-wrenching experience, and he’ll always be a favorite of mine.
What genre is In the Hope of Memories?
That’s a very good question, and everyone from my agent to my author friends can’t quite figure out the answer. However, I think I like my critique partner’s description best: "It’s like if a Colleen Hoover book had a baby with The Breakfast Club, and that baby was given a huge dose of shitty luck and LSD."
Do you plot out your story before you write it? 
No, I find it impossible to plot my stories before I start writing. I always have a vague idea of the beginning, and I usually know what the ending lines will be. But how my characters will get from the beginning to the end is always a mystery I unravel in the first draft.
Where did you get the idea for In the Hope of Memories?
My inspiration for the book came from a quirky mix of sources, which is probably why the book turned out pretty quirky itself. I’d been listening to a rap song by the Gym Class Heroes called "Stereo Hearts", and while listening to this, I was also reading about Erwin Schrodinger’s satirical thought experiment critiquing the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. This led to two major epiphanies: The first was that I am a total geek, which really wasn’t all that interesting of an epiphany, since I have it at least ten times a week. The second epiphany was that I desperately needed to write about a young graffiti artist who is both dead and alive at once, just like the subject of Schrodinger’s thought experiment. And so the concept for In the Hope of Memories was born.
What was the hardest part of writing In the Hope of Memories?
My novel has four points of view, which isn’t very common in Young Adult books. Working with four very different main characters meant establishing four distinct voices, and that was quite challenging. However, the clashing personalities of the characters was also what made writing In the Hope of Memories such an enjoyable project!
What does your writing process look like?
My process changes with every book, but I generally write very long first drafts and then cut and revise from there. But no matter how I approach writing a book, I always need chocolate and music as fuel. No exceptions there!
Are any of the characters from In the Hope of Memories based off yourself?
Nope, definitely not! I’m a very reserved person, so the thought of sticking myself in a book for all the world to see is … horrifying. That being said, my characters ended up with a few of my own quirks. I can’t tell the difference between right and left, just like my character Erik, and this causes all sorts of shenanigans when someone has to give me driving directions. And like my character Sam, I also enjoy wearing The Flash t-shirts when I use my wheelchair, because irony really is the best medicine. Also, my laptop named Vladimir makes a cameo appearance in In the Hope of Memories. (R.I.P. Vladimir.) But, aside from tiny quirks like that, none of the characters or events in the book are based on my real life.
Is In the Hope of Memories part of a series?
No, this story is a standalone and won’t be continued in other books.
Is In the Hope of Memories connected to any of your other books?
Yes, in some ways, it definitely is! While the plots don’t directly intertwine, if readers look carefully, they’ll find references to my other books within the pages of In the Hope of Memories.

About the Author
Olivia Rivers is a hybrid author of Young Adult fiction. Her works include the independently published novels Frost Fire (FREE) and In the Hope of Memories, along with the traditionally published novel Tone Deaf (Skyhorse, May 2016). As a certified geek, she enjoys experimenting with new publishing technologies, and her online serials have received over 1,000,000 hits on Wattpad. When Olivia isn’t working as a writer, she’s a typical teen attending college in Northern California. Olivia is represented by Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary, and nothing thrills her more than hearing from readers.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers. The prize will be sent out after 14 April.