Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Review: Teach Me To Forget by Erica M. Chapman

Rating: PG-13
Genre: Contemporary
Score: 3.75 stars
Page Count: 287
Stand Alone
Publisher: Merit Press
Published: December 2nd, 2016

This is the story of Ellery, a girl who learns how to live while waiting for the date she chose to die.

Ellery's bought the gun, made arrangements for her funeral, and even picked the day. A Wednesday. Everything has fallen into place.

Now all she has to do is die.

When her plans go awry and the gun she was going to kill herself with breaks, she does the one thing she has control over--return it and get a new one. After tormenting the crusty customer service associate by trying to return the gun with the wrong receipt, Ellery gets caught by the security guard who also happens to be someone she knows--the annoyingly perfect Colter Sawyer from her English class.

Colter quickly uncovers what she's hiding and is determined to change her mind. After confessing a closely held secret of his own, he promises not to tell hers. Ellery tries to fight her attraction to him as the shadows of her past cling tight around her, but when she's faced with another tragedy, she must decide whether she can learn to live with what she's done or follow through with her plan to die.

1. First, I want to give a huge thanks to Merit Press for sending me a physical copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I was really excited to get my copy in the mail since it sounded like it was going to be a heartbreaking story but also a good one. I love reading books about mental health, as you probably know by now if you've been following my Instagram or blog for a little while. I even have a list of all my favorite mental health reads that you can check out. I'll be updating it soon once I have more books to add to a second list but for now, let's get started with this review, shall we? 

2. I really liked our main character for a few reasons, one being that Ellery is dealing a huge weight of guilt and grief that she carries on her shoulders as the story pans out and we really get to see what goes on inside her head. She pretends to be happy on the outside, even calling her non-self by the name of "Happy Ellery" while on the inside, her mind is waging a war against itself. She feels lonely, tired, and blames herself for what happened to her sister. She hides her pain and self-harm from everyone she loves or cares about, including her mom, best friend Jackson whom she's known since they were kids, and Colter who enters the picture and seemingly wants to help Ellery, knowing that there's something darker going on inside her head. Ellery pushes people away slowly, little by little, in order to make it easier on herself and everyone around her when she finally decides to take her own life. She has a plan on how she'll do it, when, and we get to see her reasons why she thinks this is the best thing for her and everyone she loves. 

3. Even though we follow Ellery's story, there's also a subplot that pops up that I felt made me even more invested in the story and the characters as the story progressed. While Ellery is fighting her own battles and planning her suicide, she runs into an old friend named Dean, who she finds out is self-harming and also plans to take his own life. He just isn't sure when he'll do it. As Dean and Ellery reconnected after so many years of not talking to each other, I thought this aspect was a nice touch since it shows how Dean doesn't want Ellery to kill herself and vice-versa. It's an interesting view we get of these characters since they care about each other and want the other to be safe and happy when they themselves are planning to take their own lives. 

4. The story had a nice pace, a great cast of characters, themes of grief, depression, loss, guilt, and a feeling of hopelessness that gave the book a melancholy tone with little hints of humor tossed in every now and then to break it up a little. It also had what I would call a slow-burning romance which I enjoyed, even though the romance between Ellery and Colter happens over the course of about a month but we got to some important moments between the characters that I think kept it from falling under the category of insta-love. I also appreciated that even though Colter was determined to help save Ellery from committing suicide, he also accepted that no matter how hard he pushed her to let him in, it was ultimately her choice and he wouldn't be able to stop her from taking her life should she choose to go through with it. 

1. The reason why I didn't give this book a five-star rating is while I liked that the story was engaging and tugged at the heartstrings, even making me tear up a bit while I was reading, I thought the character depth could have been a tad bit better. I also think that the reason why Ellery wants to kill herself was breezed over once we got the full story of what happened the night Ellery lost her sister. If the story had focused on that reason for just a couple of more pages at least, it would have felt more emotional in the long run. 

2. I also felt like even though the romance was nicely paced, showing us those important moments between Ellery and Colter, it felt a bit trope-y towards the end of the story. It was gradual at first which kept the romance from immediately becoming that stigma of girl meets boy and then isn't depressed anymore but it started to go down that path a little more after trying not to for at least half of the book. I still enjoyed the book and recommend it if you want a quick book to read that has a raw and heartbreaking storyline or if you're a fan of mental health reads like me. I look forward to reading more by this author.

You Can Purchase The Book Here:

About The Author:

Erica M. Chapman writes dark, emotional YA novels with a burst of humor, and lighter contemporaries with smart-ass protagonists. Her first novel, TEACH ME TO FORGET will be published by Merit Press in December 2016. She's a member of SCBWI & Sweet16s, and a lifetime Lions and Michigan football fan who loves alternative music. She loves to tweet and watch various CW & Freeform shows while typing her next story on a MacBook in a Detroit Lions Snuggie. 

Author Links:

I hope you all enjoyed this book review! Read on, bookworms! See you in the next chapter!


  1. Wow, this sounds like a really deep and moving book where the focus really is on mental health and how some people can be struggling with it while others, even those who have been close to you for many years, may not be able to notice. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    1. Yes, I thought that aspect was really eye-opening! I feel like it's not talked about enough in YA books so I applaud that the book brought attention to that.