Book Reviews

Review: “Remembrance,” Meg Cabot

February 6, 2016
Review: “Remembrance,” Meg CabotRemembranceby Meg Cabot
Series: The Mediator #7
Published by William Morrow on February, 2015
Genres: Adult, Ghosts
Pages: 400
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?

I was over-the-moon happy that Remembrance lived up to my love of the original YA series. After so many years ‘away’ from Susannah Simon and her life in Carmel-by-the-sea, I was worried Meg Cabot might’ve lost her touch – I couldn’t have been more wrong! Remembrance gave me all the feels – as if I’d never left Suze, Jesse and the rest of the gang.

I re-read the original series last month in preparation for Remembrance – it was fantastic. The Mediator series was one of my first YA loves and I was kind of worried I wouldn’t love it as much so many years later. Wrong again. I managed to breeze through the series, it was great. All I had to do was count down the days until the first ever ADULT instalment of The Mediator was released…

“Look, Paul. You’re right. I do care. But about people, not houses. So why don’t you take your amends and your fancy new housing development and your private jet and stick them all up your external urethral orifice, which in case you don’t know is the medical term for dick hole. Adios, muchacho.”
– Suze

It was clear from the very first chapter that we were going to get the same old Suze Simon from years past – I was ecstatic. Now engaged to Jesse (read Proposal, the novella, if you want the story there) Suze is working as a sort of intern admin officer at her old school, the Junipero Serra Mission. Yup, not much has changed in relation to setting in Remembrance, either. It was very nostalgic and so fitting. There’s also all the old characters; Father D, Sister Ernestine, Suze’s stepbrothers, Gina, CeeCee, etc. It’s like greeting old friends.

There’s also Paul Slater. What? You ask. Didn’t Paul finally concede his quest for Suze in Heaven Sent after seeing how much better Jesse was for her? Wasn’t that all wrapped up in a happy-little-bow? Apparently not. Paul is back as eager as ever to win over the heart of Suze (or at least get into her pants) and he brokers a deal with her – give him ‘another chance’ and let things get physical, or he’ll tear down her old home on Pine Crest Road after purchasing the lot for redevelopment via his company Slater Industries.

Huff. One of my first qualms about Remembrance came in the way of Paul. I thought all that stuff had been FINISHED with the end of the YA series. I felt like it was a bit of a cop-out on Meg Cabot’s part for bringing back something that had been done and dusted. As the book went on, however, I came to appreciate his (if always infuriating) inclusion in the book. His presence really added some meat to the story and I was reminded what a bumbling Mediator duo they make when they have to kick some ass.

“Hot for Teacher. No, I was not hot for Teacher. What does that even mean, hot for Teacher? That’s disrespectful of teachers, Susannah.”
– Jesse

Things between Suze and Jesse are pretty sweet, too. Still holding onto his belief of ‘no sex before marriage’, Suze laments that she’s growing more cobwebs than the wedding dress hanging up in her closet. Jesse’s working as a resident doctor, and the couple are waiting for a grant that will allow him to open up his own practice. While all this may sound real adult and boring, it’s not. Suze and Jesse are still the same souls from the original series; peppered with lots of humour and sweetness.

My second two qualms came with the two of them, however.

  1. A) Jesse has some crazy over-the-top anger issues when it comes to Paul. There’s a certain scene in a restaurant car park that had me gaping. With Suze and Jesse’s suspicions that he had some kind of ‘darkness’ left over from his return from the grave, I was left fully convinced this was the case. I felt this was kind of glossed over by the end of it, however. We were just meant to full accept that Jesse could be so utterly violent?
  2. B) Suze has not grown up AT ALL. This is a bittersweet thing, I guess. On one hand, she’s the exact same Suze we’ve come to love, but – she’s in her twenties now for crying out loud. And studying to become a COUNSELLOR. Suze was so very immature at times, and pretty much the worst counsellor ever. There was a point where she commented that a girl who was self-harming would LIKE the fact that the antiseptic would sting!

All that aside, the ghostly mystery within Remembrance was fabulous and on another adult level. I won’t go into what it entailed as it could be mildly spoilery, but it introduced some more mature elements to the series. It was great to read another Susannah Simon ghost mystery for the first time – totally unknowing of how it would all conclude. That being said, I was expecting the end to the mystery to be the wrong ending – if that makes sense. The conclusion to it was a little ‘easy’ and I was convinced Suze had the wrong guy.

“We’d given each other the freedom to fly away, but we’d chosen instead to stay together, despite what had seemed, at times, like insurmountable odds against us.”
– Suze

There were some great twists and turns (the parentage of the triplets!!!), nice surprises (Maximillian28!) and nostalgic places (99 Pine Crest Road!). All in all I was supremely happy with Remembrance and so, so happy that my fears this wouldn’t re-capture the same magic were misplaced.

With how it ended (SO GOOD) I’m worried it might be the end for good, but I’m sincerely hoping it’s not. I for one could read scores of more adventures of Suze and Jesse (and yes, even Paul). If Meg Cabot decided to continue with The Mediator, you’d hear no objections from me.

About Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot was born during the Chinese astrological year of the Fire Horse, a notoriously unlucky sign. Fortunately she grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, where few people were aware of the stigma of being a fire horse -- at least until Meg became a teenager, when she flunked freshman Algebra twice, then decided to cut her own bangs. After six years as an undergrad at Indiana University, Meg moved to New York City to pursue a career as an illustrator, at which she failed miserably, forcing her to turn to her favorite hobby--writing novels--for emotional succor.

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