The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

The Memory of Things

The powerful story of two teenagers finding friendship, comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11 as their fractured city tries to put itself back together.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. She i...

Details The Memory of Things

TitleThe Memory of Things
Release DateSep 6th, 2016
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
GenreYoung Adult, Historical, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Fiction

Reviews The Memory of Things

  • Deanna
    4.5 StarsI read "The Memory of Things" in one sitting. I was so intrigued by the story that I honestly couldn't put it down. The writing was fantastic and I really found myself completely invested in the lives of the characters. The Memory of Things is such a fitting title.The morning of September 11, 2001 starts out like any other school day for sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue. That all changes when moments later he watches out the window as the f...
  • Debbie
    Where were you on 9/11? I’m guessing that if you ask anyone, they are hot to share. I sure know that the story comes gushing out of me when I’m asked. The event is etched in my memory forever. I remember how I felt, whom I called, what I feared—and I can recite exactly where I was and where everyone in my family was. I’m betting this is true of most people. I can only remember, I cannot forget.Tragedy typically brings out the best in peop...
  • Angela M
    I usually resist reading books about 9/11 and I can only think of one that I've read before this one, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which is a beautiful story of a little boy coping with the loss of his father on 9/11. But it didn't focus on the actual events of that horrible day. I've shied away maybe because I just felt it was too soon. I was struck by Gae Polisner saying that very same thing in her notes at the end, "I didn't start the ...
  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    On the day of 9/11, Kyle is trying to hurry home to Brooklyn. They let out school so everyone can try to get home. On the way he sees a girl looking over the bridge. He thinks she's going to jump. He grabs her arm and makes her come with him. She's wearing white angel wings. The story is written in two different views. One from Kyle and the other from the girl which is written in bits and pieces. Fragments of memories she can't quite grasp. She d...
  • Larry H
    September 11, 2001. A day etched into our memories. Each of us that was old enough to understand the events of that tragic day can remember where they were, what they were doing, when they heard the news, or in some cases, saw the events unfolding before their disbelieving eyes.In Gae Polisner's exquisitely moving novel, The Memory of Things , 16-year-old Kyle is in class at Stuyvesant High School when the first of the Twin Towers collapses. The...
  • Elyse
    Emotionally strong!!!!! I knew what to expect going in...."a story of two teenagers finding friendship, comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11". What I didn't know, was how incredibly talented Gae Polisner is. This is an elegantly written novel.....layered with imagery, intimacy, and authenticity. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough...or avoid re-visiting 'memories & feelings' from 9/11. This novel is completely gripping with moment...
  • Carol
    3.5 Stars. Another gripping "young"-adult novel, but this time, with an unforgettable historical New York City background setting. THE MEMORY OF THINGS pulled me right in as a shocked and frightened crowd scurries across the bridge away from downtown Manhattan with its falling glass, sky of ash and acrid burning smell. Two planes have already hit, one building is down and 15 year old Kyle is worried as he knows his NYPD dad is in the heat of it s...
  • Cheri
    4.5 Stars“On walls and windows and bins and cars all around the rubble pile, New Yorkers have left messages in the grainy dust. They are expressions of anger, love, despair and patriotism, a form of temporary poetry that will last not nearly as long as the memories.”- LOS ANGELES TIMES, FROM TIME_WIRE REPORTS, SEPTEMBER 16, 2001He moves with the crowd, moving away from downtown, where the towers are, were … he’s not sure yet. A quick but ...
  • Diane S ☔
    3.5 I have the hardest time rating YA books. When I was growing up, there was no such thing as this genre and I am never sure if I should rate this as a YA reader would or as an adult. I decided on the later course. Sometimes reading books targeted for this audience are not written as such, but this one definitely is written as a YA book. Still, it is a beautifully crafted story, 911 and the after effects on two young teens. Very much a coming of...
  • Jennifer
    Surprisingly moving tale of two teenagers put together by circumstance in the chaos following the 9/11 attacks in NYC.Other reviewers and the official marketing blurb do a good job of summarizing the plot, so I won't do that here. Polisner has taken an event that is seared into nearly everyone's individual memory and done two things: set a coming-of-age story against it, and captured the emotional spirit of how most everyone, in the days followin...
  • Debbie
    This story was awesome! It pulled me in immediately, and not only was it difficult to put down, but when I had to, all I wanted was to get back to it. When I finished, I thought, was this a novella? Nope, I just wanted more!This is not a grim story, but still brought to life the tragedy of 9-11. It captured brilliantly how one moment can change what we value, and radically shift our perceptions. Polisner writes:"So now I get it. Now I fully under...
  • Wendy
    I am totally captivated by any and all books regarding one of the most horrific days in U.S. history, that of 9/11. It's difficult to understand what it was like to be close to the tragedy that unfolded. Yet Gae Polisner told this story with honesty and tenderness.This is Kyle Donohue's story. A story about a teenage boy who has to endure for one week amid a swirl of unthinkable tragedy he is forced to deal with on his own. He finds a girl with a...
  • Taryn
    3.5 Stars. A coming-of-age story about hope and continuing to live when all seems lost. Tuesday, and those planes, they’ve broken something. Permanently. And in the process, they’ve changed everything. And everyone. September 11, 2001: Two planes fly into the Twin Towers. Kyle Donohue's NYC high school is evacuated after they witness the South Tower collapsing. While fleeing to his home on the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge, he spots ...
  • TL
    I received this via Goodreads FirstReads in exchange for an honest review. ----A touching, poignant story.. the subject matter handled with grace and sensitivity and compassion. There's a lyrical way to the story as it goes along... the dual POVs were handled well and did a wonderful job putting you in the heads of these two people Miss Polisner does an amazing job capturing the atmosphere, thoughts, and feelings during and after 9/11. It brought...
  • Stacee
    I requested this on a whim, as it don't usually pick up things that are bound to be angsty.I liked Kyle well enough. He's a typical boy in an atypical situation and I enjoyed being in his head. The interactions with his Uncle Matt were some of my favorite scenes and I was a bit surprised at that. In the brief span of the story, Kyle shows a lot of growth.The story arc was interesting and I loved the snippets of the girl's POV that we got. I will ...
  • Kelly Hager
    Finished The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner. I received a copy for review. This book begins during the attack on 9/11. Kyle's dad is a first responder and Kyle knows his dad is at ground zero, trying to help. His mom and little sister are in California, where Kerri is trying to be an actress. His uncle is almost paralyzed after an accident. There's a lot on his plate even before you factor in the girl he met on his way home. (The girl had angel...
  • Angela DeSilva
    I read this is one sitting I just couldn't put it down it was so good. Thoroughly enjoyed myself reading this young adult post 9 11 story. Anyone recommend more books about Sept 11?
  • Carolyn
    For those of us not in NY on 9/11 it's difficult to imagine what it was like to be close to the tragedy that unfolded. While we could only sit and watch the plane fly into the tower and the towers collapsing over and over on our TVs, we had no sense of what is was like to be there, on the streets as ordinary New Yorkers going about their daily business. The author, Gae Polisner stated at the end of this novel that she had to wait many years to wr...
  • abby
    September 11, 2001. Kyle is part of the human stream flowing over the Brooklyn Bridge: to safety, and away from smoldering, smoking Manhattan. As he's crossing, he notices what looks like a giant bird perched at the edge of the bridge. Then he realizes it's not a bird. It's a girl. She looks lost and scared. She looks like she might jump. Kyle convinces her to follow him to the safety of his family apartment. He discovers she doesn't know who she...
  • Kristie
    So...I was denied the NetGalley ARC for this one. So sad! But...I requested that my library order a copy and they did! So excited to read it once it is released. I got it anyway....
  • Sarah
    This was an average read for me. I know it's a YA book but personally I felt like it needed a lot more depth and emotion to really shine. That might sound weird seeing how it's a book that kind of revolves around 9/11 and the aftermath of that but I really just wanted more from the story and the two main characters. I feel like I'll forget about this book, it's not really going to stand out from everything else I have read. What I liked: -The pos...
  • Donalyn
    Gae Polisner's best book yet. An incredible addition to books about 9/11 as well as a tender and honest story about family, love, and hope.
  • TamElaine
    I read this one out loud with my oldest daughter - part of my review includes the actual reading experience and her opinion it's important you know a little background - my daughter is 17, and has autism - and perhaps while she struggles with some social skills, she still very much goes through the similar emotions and trials and has similar desires of most other teenagers her age. She finds reading an effortful, not overly enjoyable, bu...
  • Jennifer
    In many ways, this book was hard to read for me: it brought back my own memories of watching nonstop coverage of 9/11 and hearing the jets scramble over my house, flying from the nearby military bases. But my students don't have those memories. They don't know what it was like that day, and through fiction, this book creates a way to imagine what life was like for a New York City teen on those horrific early days. Told with nuance and compassion,...
  • Linda
    Beautifully, poetic coming of age story based on one of the most horrific days in our country's history. Reading this book I recalled that day as if it had just happened. Elegantly written it is a story of young love, unity as a country and great hope! It's a shame we aren't able to hold on to the "one for all, all for one" persona on a daily basis as we gravitate to in times of crisis. Emotionally charged! Well done Gae Polisner!
  • Kim at Divergent Gryffindor
    Actual rating: 4.5 starsI was only in prep 1 when the planes hit the twin towers. I remember not understanding what my teacher was saying when she told us the news the next day, and I just proceeded to talk with my seat mates. Being in the Philippines and being just a kid, I was clueless about what happened. It wasn't until years later that I learned and was able to comprehend the tragedy that struck New York that day.According to the author's no...
  • Liza Wiemer
    On 9/11, I was home, glued to the TV with an electrician who, instead of installing recessed lights in our living room, stood beside me staring at the screen. It's a day I'll never forget.So how does one do justice to one of the worst days in American history? Gae Polisner did it! THE MEMORY OF THINGS is a tender, deeply moving story of two teens grappling with the terrorist attack. The story moves seamlessly between a girl in angel wings and Kyl...
  • Linda
    I LOVED this book!This is a young adult fiction about a teenage boy, Kyle, who was at school in New York City on the morning of September 11, 2001. His high school was evacuated and as he was crossing the Brooklyn Bridge toward his home, he encountered a strange teenage girl, covered in ash and wearing angel wings of all things. She was scared and alone, like him, so they walked together. This book took me right back to September 11th. It took me...
  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight I will say that I did like more than I didn't with this one, it just wasn't a complete win for me. Either way, there was good stuff, so let's start with that, shall we?What I liked: Kyle was a really stand up character. He was a good narrator in the face of the tragedy, and most of his reactions seemed pretty realistic. He was worried abo...