Magan: Unforgettable by Loretta Ellsworth

book about freshman boy with photographic memory

Unforgettable by Loretta Ellsworth
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Pages: 256
Target Audience:  Young Adult
Format: Hardcover borrowed from the library.
Why I read this book:  It was on the new releases table at my library.
Summary: After Baxter’s mom’s ex-boyfriend is released from prison early, he and his mom move two thousand miles away to start over. Baxter hopes to re-introduce himself to a girl he knew when he was five years old (assuming she still lives in the little town where he’s going) and to reinvent himself so no one knows him as the Memory Boy – the 15-year-old kid who has a perfect photographic memory.


In my quest to read more books with male characters, I was intrigued by Baxter – a boy who wishes there were some things he could forget, even though it was impossible due to his perfect photographic memory. He wishes he could forget how Dink screwed up he and his mom’s lives when he used Baxter for his memory to steal credit card information. With Dink just out of jail, he’s sure to come after them again because Baxter has something he’s sure Dink wants.  One thing he’s glad he cannot forget is his kindergarten crush, Halle.

Halle moved away to the small mining town where Baxter and his mom relocate. Coincidence? Not so much. He hopes to reconnect with her without her recalling him as the boy who could recite her favorite television shows verbatim when she was five. Luckily for Baxter, Halle’s family still lives in the same town; he pretends to mess up on tests and is assigned a tutor who turns out to be none other than our leading lady.  Baxter walks a fine line between allowing Halle to get to know him without revealing too much about his past. He doesn’t want to be seen as a freak.

While he’s trying to figure out his relationship with Halle and make new friends, he’s tortured by memories of Dink. Small hints that the ex-convict knows their whereabouts start to surface and Baxter doesn’t know how to handle his fear. Does he tell his Mom? Is Dink just trying to scare him?  Should they move again and will he have to leave Halle behind just when he’s reconnected with her?

This book made me think so much – I am not one of the people who has memories from when I was super young. I just don’t. While Baxter did, he could never turn them off. He relived emotions and tough moments; scents evoked certain flashbacks.  His mind was constantly running a loop of memories. Though I wish there were more I could remember about my past, I’ve decided I’m quite content with what I can because only the important events, people, and defining moments stay with me.

So what would you choose if you had the choice – to remember it all or to have fragmented memories?  Read Baxter’s story and see if that helps you decide…

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4 thoughts on “Magan: Unforgettable by Loretta Ellsworth

  1. Sharon @ Fictionally Inclined says:

    Oh, excellent. I’ve always been fascinated by perfect photographic/eidetic memories. I just find the entire idea so intriguing. It’s one of the reasons I love the show Suits so much.

    As for me, I think I would rather remember fragments than absolutely everything. There would be times when a photographic memory would come in handy, of course, but overall, I don’t think it would be worth it. It would drive me crazy. I still enjoy reading about it, though, and I will definitely be adding this to my TBR list!

    Random extra bit of information: “Dink” was my grandmother’s nick-name, and I’ve never seen it anywhere else. It’s certainly odd to find it in a fictional middle-aged male criminal.

  2. Sharon @ Fictionally Inclined says:

    Um. That was odd. Sorry about the duplicate comment! It told me it didn’t post and to retry, so I did. And now not only did I double-comment, but the second one was…well, that. I can’t figure out a way to delete it. Bah, technology savviness, why must you elude me when I need you?

    • Magan says:

      I’ve got it! No worries! Thanks so much for the comments, Sharon! If you enjoy books about memory, you should also consider checking out Forgotten by Cat Patrick. It was one of my ABSOLUTE favorite books from last year. So beautifully written. I have a friend reading it right now and she texts me to let me know where she is and gives me status reports. I think you’d love it, too!

      Weird coincidence about Dink. Maybe if you read Unforgettable, you can think of him as something other than Dink so as not to defame your Grandmother? 😉

  3. Sharon @ Fictionally Inclined says:


    Oh, excellent rec. We discussed a condition similar to that in my Child Development class last semester – without the flash forwards, of course. That’s certainly an interesting premise. And I’m a sucker for beautiful writing! That is probably the fastest way to get me to read something is to tell me that, haha.

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