The Memory Thief

The Memory Thief

by Lauren Mansy


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It’s always a risk to play with memories, when you can’t help but sink into a sea of others’ wishes, hopes, and dreams … but if losing myself means saving my mother, isn’t it worth it?

In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but she grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To rescue her mother, Etta must prove her allegiance to the Shadows by stealing a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. Etta faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and above all, her own past as she uncovers a conspiracy that challenges everything she knew about herself and the world around her.

In a place where nothing is what it seems, can Etta ever become more than a memory thief?

The Memory Thief:

  • Is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Victoria Aveyard
  • Brings readers on an unforgettable journey during which Etta must learn—often the hard way—just what it will take to save her city and her mother
  • Is a clean, coming of age YA fantasy by up-and-coming author Lauren Mansy

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780310767657
Publisher: Blink
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 31,901
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Lauren Mansy grew up in the Chicago area, where she spent years working with youth of all ages, from young children to high schoolers. When she's not writing, Lauren loves to travel, spend time with her family, and explore the city to find the best deep dish pizza. The Memory Thief, which was inspired by Lauren's own journey with her mother, is her first novel. You can visit her online at

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Stream Title 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
LetRachelRead 7 hours ago
Better late than never I always say. Mainly because I’m frequently late and need to feel better about it. Moving on! The Memory Thief! What a read! I started this back in May when I first got my hands on the ARC but took a break to get my bookstagram started & and a few other ARCs read. Finally finishing it a few days ago I rated it then tried to find time to write this review. I was provided an ARC of The Memory Thief by Blink publishing by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. On I gave The Memory Thief by Laura Mansy 4 out of 5 stars but personally I rate it closer to a 3.5 or 3.75 or 3.80? Why would I rate it lower? Why would I dock this book that I almost finished in three days (then took nine weeks off from reading) half a star? One and a half if you remember the scale is five stars. The Memory Thief gave me just about everything it promised me. It was well written and I enjoyed the author’s writing style. My favorite part of the book was THE CHARACTERS which if we’re honest, that’s why people are reading a book. To experience a character’s journey, struggles, pain, happiness, and eventual resolution. I don’t waste time with summaries and always strive to avoid spoilers, so here’s what I can tell you about this story: it’s worth reading just to know Etta Lark. It may be a lot to lay at a character’s feet but I assure you Etta could have carried this story through three whole books. I NEVER want additional books. I prefer standalone books every single time I try to find a new read. Getting caught up in a story that took eight books to wrap up when it could’ve been finished in one or two is my version of torture and makes me mad because I feel like I’m having my money taken for no good reason. I can assure you that the biggest sin of the Memory Thief is that it is too short. The story is rushed through the last 25% of the book making for an ending I had to reread twice just to make sure I’d read it correctly. There is nothing more satisfactory than a tidy ending like The Memory Thief has but I took away a whole star and possibly another half star because I was rushed into a sloppily written ending. It gave me what I needed for the story but it stole the emotional and mental impact I expected and wanted after such a beautiful set up. I still recommend The Memory Thief to any and everyone who loves adventure, overcoming the odds & remembering that you are enough to stand up against those doing wrong. I loved Etta and I’ll always love her story even if it’s not a five star mega bestseller on my book list. ~LetRachelRead
Morgan_S 1 days ago
3.5 stars. I actually really liked this, but I think there was a bit more polishing that could have been done. Overall though, I think it's a great debut novel. I love the powerful messages about family, forgiving yourself, and hope for a better future no matter what has happened in the past. The things I wish we had more of have to do with Etta's past. Etta's past is a huge part of her, yet we only see bits and pieces of her memories of her friends Cade, Joss, and Penn. As much as Etta thinks about them and feels guilty, you'd think we would have a better grasp on what happened to them. It is revealed in such little pieces over a long period of time, that it doesn't really form a whole picture by the end. The Hunters and Ghosts weren't explained enough for me to really care about them, although I think there could have been more to the story there. By the time I got to the end of the book, I found out there was a glossary, but I wish I had known that going into it, since it would have been helpful. I also wish there was a list of characters, since there were a lot of names to keep track of. I liked the delineation of the Realms, and wish we had more details and background on that. I easily could have seen this story as a duology, with all the world-building that was present and the fact that more could have been added. I really liked Etta as a character, and although her intense guilt felt choking at times, it was great to see her work through that with the help of others. Reid, Ryder, and Porter were my other favorite characters, and I enjoyed the romance that was also fraught with tension and guilt and betrayal. The cover of this book is also gorgeous. I will definitely be reading whatever Lauren Mansy writes in the future!
Anonymous 6 days ago
A fantastic read!
sspea 6 days ago
A world where memories can be sold as currency, and stolen just as easily. Etta Lark made sacrifices to get her mother into an asylum where the city's cruel ruler "Madame" promised her safety. Going back on her word, Madame has now decided to sell Etta's mother at auction, selling all her memories to the highest bidder- a painful death. To save her mother Etta must join forces with those she betrayed. The memory thief had a great premise that I have never seen in a book before. Often times so many themes and plots are regurgitated over and over again, that it is so fresh and exciting to get a new idea. I liked how incredibly flawed the characters were without being sappy. There was one part in particular I thought for sure I knew what would happen... and the author went in a completely different direction, which I really liked. This book kept me on my toes.
Anonymous 8 days ago
**Thank you to Blink, Lauren Mansy, and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review** Etta lives in Craewick, one of four territories where memories are the currency used, and the method of keeping people in line. Some individuals are Gifted, meaning they have the ability to take and share memories with others just by touching them. Ungifted folks are not able to do this. Within the Gifted population, there are variations and differing strengths of the gift, which is used as a status symbol. Sifters are the most powerful of the Gifted, they are able to take memories without needing to touch the person. Powerful Sifters rule each territory, but none are worse than the ruler of Craewick. Madame using her gift for torture, so a secret group called the Shadows work to oppose her. Etta was a Shadow, before she sold out the leader in order to save her mother from certain death. When Madame decides to break their bargain and begin the process of killing Etta's mother, Etta must decide how far she is willing to go to save her mother, and the people of Craewick. I loved this new take on powers. I think these days it's hard to write about a "superpower" that hasn't been used already, but memories is a new one for me and I LOVE The Memory Thief for that. Lauren Mansy did an excellent job building a world that is fueled by people's memories, the good and the bad. The main character has a difficult go of life and is thrown into many tough spots. She has struggled so much. I loved the plot twists and I did not see them coming, which is always super fun. The love story was not a true enemies to lovers, and frankly the love interest did not end up being the person I expected it to be. The writing style was great because it felt like you were getting enough information from the story, that you didn't even realize certain aspects and facts were being withheld to be revealed later in the book. I only wish that the story could have been longer, or at least a duology. I feel like this would have been well suited to being a two book series. Also, the ending sequences were a touch confusing and unclear with what was happening, so I feel like the writing could have been better at the end. Overall, I truly enjoyed this new story and would suggest it for fans of the Everless duology.
Nickie-T 8 days ago
Etta Lark is willing to do whatever it takes to save her bedridden mother from the auctions, where memories are sold to the highest bidder. Having hidden herself from the Shadows after betraying them, she finds herself in need of their help. Their help comes with a cost, though. Now, Etta finds herself on a journey full of danger, one that could end with her death. The premise and beginning of the story had me hooked. I felt it was a pretty original concept, the idea that there are gifted people who are able to share/take memories through touch. While there are also, a select few gifted who are able to share/take memories through sight. The concept needed a lot more development, though, as it got to be confusing when adding in the variations of the gifts. Mansy had an original and exciting concept, but failed to explore and expand on it. The first half of the story was fairly solid. We got a lot of action and a good introduction into the background of Etta and the setting. After reaching the half-way point, the story began to progress at too fast of a pace. It felt like the author had ideas of where the story would lead, but it ended up feeling forced and awkward. It went from point A to B, and at times I felt confused and as though I had missed a page. The second half is full of "revelations" and insta-love, that left me bewildered. I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Isabelle Wagner 8 days ago
The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy had me hooked right from the start. The concept of exchanging memories, and all the pros and cons that come with that, is a (to me) completely new premise that made for an exciting adventure for Etta and her companions. Etta is a strong female character that shows the readers that anybody can be a hero, even if there are dark and horrible things in your past. She's had to make extremely difficult decisions regarding her family and friends, had to learn to live with the consequences of those decisions, but also realized the incredible things that can be accomplished by putting your trust in unlikely and unexpected people. While I enjoyed the straightforward writing style for most of the book, I would've liked more descriptions of this world that we know nothing about. I also found both the meeting with a certain ruler and the final "battle" somewhat anticlimactic and simplified. I think this was a great debut novel overall though and Mansy shows a lot of potential for great books in the future.
HollyLovesBooks4Us 11 days ago
Gorgeous cover and great premise but... This was a middle of the road YA fantasy novel in a crowded field of stand out works. The plot and characters started out intriguing but did not stand up as the book progressed and fell flat. It seemed almost as though maybe a bit more editing would have helped to clean up the story line, and keep it cohesive throughout. Overall, I'm interested in what else this author puts out but not certain if there was enough character and world building in this novel to seek a sequel read. So, just an okay read. This isn't my go-to genre though so people drawn into fantasy YA might totally love this. And I may give it a try again later. Sometimes its timing with books like this. #TheMemoryThief #NetGalley #Blink
a_library_on_elm_street 12 days ago
I just reviewed The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy. #TheMemoryThief #NetGalley I absolutely loved this book. The characters are so great. I totally had a dream about something so similar to this plot a couple years ago. It was great seeing it as a book. I received this book free as a digital ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
Elle_Gutierrez 12 days ago
First of all, I think the premise of this book is very interesting. The use of memories as currency and weapons was very intriguing. There were parts I genuinely enjoyed of the book, but for a lot of it I just couldn't get super into it. The ending definitely felt very messy. Things were happening, but it felt like they were happening just for the sake of wrapping everything up. Characters, world building, and action were all okay, but I just wanted more development. The writing was enjoyable, and overall I thought it was a decent read. I just think aspects needed to be more fleshed out, whether that be with a sequel or perhaps a slightly longer book. By all means, give this book a try because it was an interesting premise.
Jypsylynn 12 days ago
Thank you to the publisher for an advanced copy. All opinions expressed are my own. The Memory Thief By: Lauren Mansy *REVIEW* I expected to like The Memory Thief much more than I actually did. The premise is unique. Imagine buying and selling memories! Do you have memories you would gladly sell? In the world of the story, some characters are Gifted, essentially meaning they can touch(or, rarely, look at) someone and steal their memories. The heroine, Etta, is Gifted but hiding this fact, from all but a few, for the sake of her mother's life. Now, with her mother in danger once again, Etta must make a perilous journey to retrieve something. Her Gifted abilities will be needed on this journey. It's an intriguing storyline that didn't deliver. There are moments of interest with action and drama, but there are also too long stretches of boring material. The story as a whole did not maintain it's magical little something to make me want to keep reading. I forced myself through half of it because I'm not a quitter. The ending was anticlimatic, and overall, it's mediocre at best. I think this story will be best for a young adult audience interested in fantasy fiction and magic. It's got the goods for those readers but not for me.
Anonymous 12 days ago
This was a quick read and kept me entertained throughout the story. However, I could not help but feel like it was a lot like Everless by Sara Holland. In The Memory Thief, memories are currency. In Everless, time (blood) is currency. I felt like I was reading almost the same base story with events and character names changed. Perhaps this book would have been better for someone who is not familiar with Everless or other stories of that nature. It was nothing to really write home about. That does not mean that it was not a good book! I enjoyed the world building, but the characters needed to be fleshed out more as they had such potential. There was also quite a bit of jumping back and forth between the past and present. That did not bother me. In fact, I like when that happens in books. It really helped with the whole memories being worth so much theme. In Etta’s adventure, she is eventually paired up with a young man her own age. While it was not instant love, when you really stop and think about it, they did fall in “love” in a matter of two to three days. I just was not buying it. Also, things just worked out unrealistically well for Etta. She’s afraid of this big bad enemy only to find out that the person is actually a softy who has changed their ways and has remorse for what they have done. It just...did not do anything for me. At the end, there is sacrifices to be made to beat the big bad enemy, but the costs to the characters can be seen a mile away. Did I enjoy this book? Yes! It just was not my favorite of the year. Eventually there will be something unique, fresh and new in the YA book world. I just know it! Give this book a try if you like: +Adventure +Ability to share/steal memories +Conquering the bad guy +People being able to turn their life around +Learning how to forgive +Learning how to move on and be strong after a great loss +Strong friendships
Anonymous 13 days ago
Genre: YA Fantasy My rating: 5 stars Language: Clean! Age Range: 13+ Content: Very mild action scenes/death scenes. A few kisses. Favorite Character: Etta + Reid Favorite quote: "Sunsets are ten times prettier after a storm. They're proof that good can come out of something really bad." - Penn Conclusion: This book has been amazing! It was interesting twist that you can give and take away someone's memory. The story was fascinating and I love how it talks about forgiveness and how good can come from evil. I highly recommend this book! *I received an ARC from Netgalley for my honest review. These opinions are my own.*
Yolanda Margolin 13 days ago
Thank you to Blink and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this eARC. The premise of this story is really interesting. Memories are used as currency and the world created around this idea is fascinating. Taking memories sounds a bit scary to me, just because I wonder how someone would stay themself with other memories in their head. Also it feels like cheating. If you want to learn a skill, steal a memory and now you are an expert in it. It shows how the Gifted has the upper hand in this world. Etta Lark is hiding from her past. Her best friends are dead and her mother is in an asylum. Etta made a deal with Madame, the ruler of Craewick, that would help her hide from the Shadows, a group she betrayed to help save her mother. But Madame changes the rules on her and Etta has to go back to the people she hurt to help her mom again. This was a fast read. I devoured all the information about the Gift, Ungifted, and Minders. The world of the Shadows is really intriguing and probably my favorite part of the book. Some of the story is told through memories, since Etta has taken a few. There is insta-love but I think it works because it is a standalone book. Etta and her love interest do get to know each other on their quest. I’m so used to reading trilogies with love stories drawn out that seeing insta-love in a book that isn’t purely a romance novel is sometimes hard to get used to. It works in this story but I wasn’t that invested in the romance though. When Etta and Reid get to the end of their journey, Etta’s past is revealed in a twist and it seemed so convenient. Etta accepts this reveal so easily. From there on, the story wraps up and everything works out in the end. Which is great, but my interest was dwindling by then. The time span of this story happens in one week, so the ending felt rushed. Overall, this was an interesting book, with a potential to be amazing because I really enjoyed the underworld of the Shadows. Everything else though fell flat for me.
Anonymous 13 days ago
Imagine a world where everything you love and hold dear can be ripped away from you in an instant, without any warning or recourse. We are what we remember, and in The Memory Thief, the "Gifted" can steal part or all of who you are with only a touch. The "Ungifted", those without this powerful ability, live at the mercy of the "Gifted", and society has divided itself according to this unsettling divide of psychological power. Etta lives in this world, and has just learned that her own mother's memories may soon be ripped out and auctioned off to the highest bidder. To prevent this from happening, Etta must do the unthinkable: she must return to the shady social group that helped land her mother in the asylum years ago, and use her own memory to win freedom for her dear mother. The concepts and themes within The Memory Thief are thought-provoking and interesting. Memory isn't a concept that's played around with centrally in many stories, so I enjoyed this change of pace. As the book moves along, a romance develops, however I feel like the book would have been stronger without it, focusing instead on the camaraderie that a shared mission and purpose brings. Etta combats an unjust and unfair society as it attacks her emotional core, and for most of the book that goal is very compelling. I feel like the ending could have been stronger, but Etta's journey comes to a close well enough in the end. If you're looking for an overall great story and don't mind that it gets a touch trope-y and peters out a bit at the end, I think you'll really enjoy reading (and remembering) The Memory Thief.
marongm8 13 days ago
This book was received as an ARC from Blink in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I did not know what to expect when I started reading this book, but I must say I was surprised and blown away in the best way possible. The story with Etta and her mother being in the insane asylum was a plot twist that was unexpected with these types of fantasy novels. This book reminded me a lot of the Red Queen series and the morbid twisted take on a fantasy adventure. I know a lot of our young adult readers will be very fascinated with this book because it was different from beginning to end and with all the twists and turns loaded throughout this book, they will not want to stop reading. We will consider adding this title to our YFantasy collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
tpolen 13 days ago
The fascinating idea of memories being currency, the beautiful cover, and a MC in a perilous situation are what drew me to this book. While intricate and interesting, the world-building confused me for the most part. With a lot of moving pieces, sparse details are given about the different realms and types of Gifted. At the end of the book was a glossary containing descriptions and explanations that would have helped while reading. I wish it had been at the beginning of the novel instead. Several twists are revealed at the end of some chapters, and the author did an admirable job at making me read just a little longer in one sitting to see what happened next. That being said, things seem to fall into place a little too conveniently, which dampened the conflict and intensity for me. The journey Etta and Reid undertake lasts a good portion of the book, and I assumed this would be the first in a series; however, the pace kicks into overdrive in the last 20% and wraps up the story in a neat bow. The Memory Thief isn't a bad read by any means, and several other reviewers have enjoyed it, but the ambiguous world-building and uneven pacing left me scratching my head several times. Putting the glossary at the beginning of the book would help alleviate much of the confusion. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. (
onemused 13 days ago
THE MEMORY THIEF is an engrossing YA fantasy that will keep you turning pages late into the night. Etta lives in a world where memories can be bartered. Certain people, called Gifted, have the ability to take memories and gift them to someone else. In this way, you can lose painful memories, gain new skills through memories of training, gain happy memories, etc. The world is divided into four main realms, each controlled by a Sifter, a special type of Gifted that is the most powerful and effective at removing memories and giving to someone else through sight alone (whereas most Gifted need to use touch). Variants of Gifted result in various other abilities related to moving memories around. Ungifted people also live throughout the realms in menial tasks and are often exploited by the Gifted. The realms take Gifted people from poor families to add to their armies of Minders. The Shadows are a group leading a rebellion against the realms- particularly Craewick, which is ruled by the cruel Madame. Etta bartered with the Madame years ago to have her mother (now in a coma) taken care of in the Asylum, which is filled with people whose minds have been damaged due to memory transactions. Etta paid a big price to have her mother taken care of there and is hopeful that she will awake. She also has the Gift, but she is marked as Ungifted at her request in part of her bargain with the Madame. Now, the Madame is threatening her mother, and Etta must turn to the group she had betrayed- the Shadows- to try to save her. As she embarks on a journey, this fast-paced book takes a lot of unexpected twists and turns to a highly satisfying ending. What I loved: The premise is so unique, and the world building was really well done. While we don't get to explore all the realms, they were easy to imagine, and it was interesting to see the ethics/possibilities for such a society in which memories can be bartered. The implications and discussions about this raise a lot of interesting questions that can be considered even after reaching the end of the book (for instance, if our memories define us, what happens when others possess them? also about exploitation of poverty and the value of holding good and bad memories). In terms of the characters, I loved the main characters (particularly Etta, Reid, and Ryder) and the presentation of people as not always good vs. bad. The romance was very well built, and we get a lot of character development as they connect and grow as individuals and a couple. I was fully on-board with them as a couple (no insta-love there). What left me wanting more: I only wish the book was longer, as I would love to continue to explore this world and characters more! However, while it does move fast, it is not rushed. Final verdict: A thought-provoking and unique YA fantasy, THE MEMORY THIEF is a engrossing and lovely story. Twists and turns keep the reader guessing as they follow Etta on her physical and mental journey. Highly recommend for people who like fantasy/dystopian books like MATCHED, THE SELECTION, BEWARE THE NIGHT, or UNDER THE NEVER SKY. Please note that I received a review copy. All opinions are my own.