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The Meme Plague (Memento Nora Series #3) by Angie Smibert

The Meme Plague, (Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Publishing, $16.99, Ages 13 and up) the third book in the Memento Nora series, by Angie Smibert, is reviewed by Ronna Mandel.

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The Meme Plague (The Memento Nora Series Book #3) by Angie Smibert, Skyscape/Amazon Children’s Book Publishing, 2013.

Here’s what the jacket flap says: In THE MEME PLAGUE, the final book of the Memento Nora series, Micah and his friends have each lost something—a parent, a relationship, a home, maybe even their own identities as they remembered them to be. But together, they can make sure some things are never forgotten. Election Day is coming, and Mayor Mignon is certain to be elected to Congress. It’s time to build a new electronic frontier (MemeNet), one that’s not controlled by the mayor and his cronies. It’s time to get out the vote and shake up the system. Will they succeed before it’s too late?

I decided to take my first dive into a dystopian world, one I usually don’t visit, and found it easy to lose myself in the futuristic east coast town of Hamilton where the main characters Nora, Micah, Winter, Velvet and Aiden live. Considering the controversy surrounding the NSA’s invasion of privacy, Smibert’s trilogy including her most recent, The Meme Plague, could not be more relevant.

It’s important to note that, to get my head around the dystopian society where most of the action occurs, I needed to read books one and two before I could attempt to follow book three. Smibert’s created a detailed world with wonderfully realized characters and a complex back story that would make it difficult for most readers to just pick up The Meme Plague without first finishing the others. Memento Nora (Book One) and The Forgetting Curve (Book Two) introduced and developed a time period not so far in the future in which government and business conspire to suppress free thought in individuals through mind controlling chips implanted in them. TFCs (Therapeutic Forgetting Clinics) are cropping up everywhere and savvy teens Nora and Micah, along with their friends, figure out that not only are their actual memories being whitewashed, but new, more government and corporation serving ones are replacing them!  This concept intrigued me and hooked me in, especially the idea of technology’s role in implementing such an oppressive plan and how hacking can have its pros and its cons.

A MemeCast, a pirate broadcast to citizens who have avoided getting chipped or have been chipped but refuse to submit, serves to disperse details about where legitimate information can be found. This underground movement has grown by the time The Meme Plague take place, and efforts to brainwash Micah about his father’s past (did he really betray his country as everyone’s been led to believe) only make Micah and his friends more determined than ever to fight back and expose the wrongdoing.

Never Too Young for Writer’s Block

Debbie Glade shares with us how she can relate to a story about a very young boy with a blank sheet of paper.

Ralph Tells a Story ($16.99, Amazon Children’s Publishing, Ages 6 and up) written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon is a darling little book fit for young Ralph Tells a Story coverreaders, but I found it to be equally as applicable for adult writers like me. I could write volumes about writer’s block. Now wait a minute. That sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?

Ralph’s teacher asks her students to each write a story. But for Ralph, that’s easier said than done. You see, nothing ever happens to Ralph, so he simply cannot think of anything to write about – or at least that’s what he thinks. He wracks his brain, stares at the ceiling, crawls on the floor, and his blank paper just sits there waiting for him to write something on it – anything on it! When Ralph is called to the front of the class by the teacher, all he can do is nervously blurt out, “I was at the park. An inchworm crawled on my knee.” What follows that turns out to be a wonderful solution to Ralph’s writer’s block.

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This book teaches young readers that it’s normal to find it challenging to get started writing. Professional writers who have been writing their entire lives experience the writing block monster here and there, and sometimes everywhere. It’s a real live problem all writers know all to well!!! But Ralph’s experience is proof that we can work through that often cruel, frustrating block and create wonderful stories to be read, shared and treasured. You’ll find the simple cartoon-like illustrations to be a delightful addition to the story.

So go ahead and buy a copy of this book for your child, or maybe even the adult in your life who longs to write but fears the wrath of the ugly writer’s block monster.

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