The Memory of Light

The Memory of Light

by Francisco X. Stork


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Now in paperback: This beautiful novel from the author of Marcelo in the Real World about life after a suicide attempt is perfect for fans of Gayle Forman and Thirteen Reasons Why.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780545474337
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 08/29/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 181,930
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Francisco X. Stork is the author of Marcelo in the Real World, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens and the Once Upon a World Award; The Last Summer of the Death Warriors, which was named to the YALSA Best Fiction for Teens list and won the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award; Irises; and The Memory of Light, which received four starred reviews. He lives near Boston with his wife. You can find him on the web at and @StorkFrancisco.

Read an Excerpt

From The Memory of Light: "What happened, mi niña? Why you do something so horrible? Something happen in school?" "No, no." "Do you miss your mamá? I miss her too. Your mamá wouldn’t want you to do this." "I know," I say, rubbing my eyes with my hands. "Who hurt you, mi niña? Tell me." "No one, Nana, no one hurt me. It just hurts inside, I don't know why." "Is it Barbara? Is that what happen?" "No . . ." I have no answers to these questions, no explanations that make any sense. I feel my head shrinking, tightening with pressure, as if I were taking an exam in a foreign language on a subject I never even knew existed. "She okay. She tries. She needs learn to smile. So serious always. But she not bad inside. Your father, he loves you also. They sometimes confused about how to love. But they okay." It is so painful to hear Juanita's voice. Why? "Nana, I have to go. I wanted to let you know I'm okay. This thing I did. Taking the pills. It doesn’t mean I don't love you." "I know that, my niña, I know. I no never have doubts. Don't worry. I be here waiting for you. Diosito didn't want you to die." "I have to go now, Nana." "Don't cry, my little baby. Everything okay. You see." The call ends. I lie there for I don’t know how long, my hand on the telephone, as if I'm afraid to let go of the voice that flowed through it. It is possible, I realize, to have people in your life who love you and who you love, and to still want to kill yourself. It's almost as if part of the reason you’re doing it is for them, because you are not worthy of their love, and you want to stop being a burden to them, contaminating their lives with your moodiness and grumpiness and miserableness. I feel Juanita's love now. And it makes me feel so much worse.

Customer Reviews

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The Memory of Light 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is deep and meaningful, and even if you aren't depressed the book makes you stop and think about your life. It's one of those books thats words will stick with you no matter what.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been fascinated by anxiety and depression since I was little. Both have plagued my family for years, and suicidal thoughts and attempts have been a part of that at times. And so often, when something tragic and horrible like that happens, that is our focus for years. That moment of decision becomes what we think when we think of that person or that time. It is sort of like a focal point. We tend to not think of the after, the improvement, the getting better. That is why Francisco Stork’s work in Memory of Light is so important in this world today. His voice is one that needs to be heard. Young people, especially, need to know Vicky’s story. I also love that Mr. Stork created a background for her in which she was “privileged.” It shows that kids from all walks of life are allowed to feel this way, to feel that their life is pointless and that they do not want to be a part of this world anymore. They are still worthy to be saved. Mr. Stork’s perspective was refreshing in that sense, and in the fact that suicide is no longer the focal point. For once, someone is showing the world of recovery. Someone is providing proof that what you did or tried to do or want to do does not define who you are. Vicky is so much more than what she did, and Mr. Stork illustrates that beautifully. And her story needs to be read in all middle schools and junior highs and high schools across the nation. We need it. Our children need it.
clushed6 More than 1 year ago
Fransisco Stork told one of the most relevant stories of trauma recovery that I have ever read. The Memory of Light dives us into the aftermath of a dimly remembered night that a young girl named Vicky Cruz decided to commit suicide. Vicky struggles with many things in her life, and it reflects what depression looks like for most high schoolers, there is nothing inherently wrong with her life, but it is lacking greatly in connection. Her inability to connect with likeminded people at her school, and incomplete and embittered family relationships, made a pressure cooker of depression for a young, grieving, depressed teenager. This story, however, does not allow us to wallow in misery. It peels back the layer on the aftermath of a serious attempted suicide. There is no romanticizing or pithy letters or outright answers to how our characters will move forward or recover from their trauma. The characters we meet are multifaceted and fear things that we all fear, just in a more concentrated way as they recover. Some will succeed better than others in their recovery, and they are not healed instantly by some sudden revelation. However, they are trying, and their efforts are what we can admire the most. Our characters are broken, scared, and working hard to change their thinking. It is obvious that Stork has drawn on his own experiences to give us a protagonist that is heroic and flawed and taking slow but deliberate steps toward a life that she can live with. I loved this book, with it’s quiet and flawed heroes that tell us even in the difficultness of life, we can find a place for ourselves.
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork is a realistic fiction novel that explores the reality of depression and mental illness. In the beginning of the book, sixteen-year-old Vicky Cruz awakens in a hospital, her head pounding. She has just attempted suicide and will spend the following weeks in Lakeview Hospital, battling to overcome the depression that has taken hold of her. While receiving treatment, Vicky meets a group of valuable supporters and friends that will not only empathize with her throughout her journey but also teach her to cope with the pressure and emptiness she suffers. Just when Vicky begins to understand and learn to live with her depression, an unexpected crisis rips her away from her new companions and forces her to return to the humdrum of everyday life before she is completely prepared. As Vicky begins to doubt her ability and will to live, unlikely circumstances reunite her with her Lakeview friends once again, and she discovers that perhaps her life does have purpose. Will Vicky prevail against the thoughts that cloud her mind, or will her depression defeat her? Is she courageous enough to endure reality and live? The Memory of Light is absolutely not the average young adult mental crisis book, brimming with negativity and bitterness. Rather, it is intensely insightful, illuminating depression in a unique way by emphasizing that anyone—rich or poor, young or old, brilliant or dull—can fall victim to mental illness. To truly capture the complexity of depression instead of undermining it, author Stork utilizes colorful analogies, comparing depression to everything from a smelly fog to a deflated basketball. Due to the dry humor and heart-warming friendship woven throughout the book, The Memory of Light is strangely encouraging and not at all gloomy and somber, despite its heavy subject matter. Additionally, Stork’s conclusion—neither corny and happy nor tragic and disappointing—is completely unpredictable, along with the remainder of the plot. Ultimately, The Memory of Light is a healthy, thought-provoking examination of depression, an issue enormously prevalent in our society. While the novel included no explicit language or profanity and featured mostly simple vocabulary, its disturbing subject matter makes it best for mature readers seeking both entertainment and insight. I recommend The Memory of Light to anyone interested in an original book that will incite everything from laughter to tears in the span of a single chapter. Isabella T., 16, Memphis Mensa
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
2.5 stars I knew when I started listening to this on audio, it was a mistake but I continued as I was already vested in it and I didn’t want to change to the novel knowing that I probably wouldn’t finish it. This novel dealt with a serious subject and I felt the whole audio carried this theme and it felt a bit too heavy for me. With monotone voices, I grew tired of listening to this audio and I kept waiting for the part in the novel when things would turn around. This is one novel where I highly recommend that you read it instead of listening to it as you can make a big difference in this novel. Vicky survived her suicide attempt but she’s still uncertain about her future. Her father wants Vicky to get help from individuals he has contacts with and get back into the mainstream of life again but the doctor who took her case at the hospital wants Vicky to take control and tell them what she needs. It becomes a battle as her father tries to control Vicky as Vicky tries to take control of her own life. Surrounded by peers who are also hurting in the hospital, Vicky finds she is not alone in her thoughts and she finds comfort in this. This comfort gives her strength and it allows her to slowly open up. She needs them, just as much as they need her and the doctor who works at the hospital is helping them realize that what they are experiencing will not be cured overnight. Vicky’s father kept trying to sweep his daughter’s illness under the rug and his straight-to-the-point, no nonsense talking turned me off immediately. His wife, I didn’t care for her either. It was the individuals in the hospital that won me over, it was their stories, the bonds that they had with each other and the pain that they were trying to overcome, these were the people that I came to care about. There was some sunshine in this novel, I finally saw the sun but it took a while for it to shine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read about dealing with suicidal thoughts and depression. Also about friendship and dealing with boys that you dont think youlike. A wonderful book! PRAISE FOR FRANCISCO X STORK!