Review : The Memory Of Light by Francisco X. Stork


Vicky Cruz shouldn’t be alive.

That’s what she thinks, anyway—and why she tried to kill herself. But then she arrives at Lakeview Hospital, where she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she’s never had.

Yet Vicky’s newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up—sending her back to the life that drove her to suicide—Vicky must find her own courage and strength. She may not have any. She doesn’t know.

Inspired in part by the author’s own experience with depression,The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one—about living when life doesn’t seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.  (From: Goodreads)

Title: The Memory Of Light

Author: Francisco X. Stork

Genres: YA, contemporary, mental illness

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Edition: Hardcover, 2016

Pages: 325

*!!!4 out of 5 stars!!!*

Vicky’s suicide attempt failed. She was sent to Lakeview Hospital. In there, she met some people with mental problems and they became friends. Vicky always thought that her depression was the worst, very very bad, but she was wrong. Her friends were having serious troubles. She found that she needed to believe that she would live so that she could tell her friends to live.

On the way of recovering, it’s not just you. You’re family must be there for you, too.

I’d been reading a lot of fantasy novels, so I thought it was about time for me to pick up a contemporary one. And BANG


The setting of this book is in Austin, TX. There are some Spanish cultures in the story, which is pretty awesome for me since I’m currently studying Spanish in college. I like it when Francisco sometimes used Spanish between the lines. It made me feel like the characters were real. Sometimes Juanita the character couldn’t use the correct English grammar, she used Spanish grammar to speak English. This made me believe that she was really a person who grew up in Mexico.
The book is heart-warming. At first, everything was out of order, then it seemed to be alright for a well, and then there was a huge messed-up. In the end, all was good. It wasn’t back to the start. It was better. Everyone was better.


Vicky, 16, suicide attempt, depression. Vicky’s mother passed away due to cancer a long time ago. She could never recover from that wound. However, it seemed that her dad had already moved on. He’d married his then secretary Barbara not long after Vicky mother’s death. Her sister Becca moved on as well. Juanita, Vicky’s nanny, seemed to be the only person who cared about Vicky in this house.

Vicky’s dad was the boss of a real estate company. Their house was huge. They were super rich. Vicky’s dad, Miguel, and Barbara had this sick mind. They wanted Vicky to go back to school right away because they thought her suicide attempt was just a mistake which she wouldn’t make it again. They didn’t want her to stay in a mental hospital. As they referred, “Vicky doesn’t belong there.” They wanted to give Vicky what they thought was the best. There was this guy at school called Jaime who liked Vicky very much. Vicky’s dad liked him very much because Jaime’s house was loaded as well. Miguel was a mean guy, to my opinion. When Vicky quit debate, he father told her,

“You can’t ask a mule to be a racehorse.”

Mona, 18, bipolar. Mona was Vicky’s roommate in Lakeview Hospital. The only person she cared about in this whole wide world was her little sister, Lucy. After her stepfather abused Lucy, Lucy was sent away to other family. For all these years, Mona had been searching for her sister. Fortunately, in this hospital, she met a guy called Rudy who claimed that he could find Lucy. And Mona just fell for that because her sister was her weakness…

E.M. Emilio, 18, dangerous, violence records. E.M. might seem like a jerk at first, in a lot of situations. He had dark minds and he tended to think about things in a worst way. And this was also his own way for joking. Under the mask he had been putting on, he was actually a nice person. He believed in Huichi, an Aztec God. He somehow passed that idea on to Vicky.

Gabriel, 17, ? → depression/auditory hallucinations. Gabriel seemed to be in peace all of the time. However, he was the one who had the biggest problem. He heard things to tell him to help others by doing bad things to himself. He said if the voice went away, he felt depressed. He originally lived with his grandparents.

Let’s Get Into Some Details

“How can you love someone and still try to kill yourself?”

I know this is very dark. But think about it in another way, if I don’t love anybody, does it make the possibility of killing myself higher?

“I’m glad that your cat saved you.” she says. “Are you?”
“No.” The word rises up on its own, a lone air bubble from some drowning breath.


But right now we have at least one thing in common: We are both here at Lakeview, failures at the thing called living.

Dr. Desai must have known that this girl was in deep when she heard Vicky answer ‘no’. I can totally understand Vicky. Suicide attempt failed. It is like you have already fail at everything in your life. And even when you’re trying to suicide, you still fail.

Is that how depression works? You reach a point where there are no more disappointments or more sadness because every single thing is a disappointment and there’s no more room anywhere for sadness?

I’m here very sad to announce — yes. That is depression. When you don’t feel high or low, when you don’t know how to be happier, how to be sadder, because you are in the sadness valley and you don’t know how to get out.

But I’m split. There’s two of me. The person I carry around like a dead carcass inside of me and the one I show to others.

You’re depressed, but you don’t want anyone else to know. You try to put on a mask, thinking that if you wear this mask long enough, maybe one day it’ll become your face. Maybe. However, you can’t lie to yourself. You know that deep inside of you is broken. You need to be fixed. You need to get better so that you can keep living this life.



Body pain is obvious. Heart pain is the pain that comes from others, when they love you too much or not enough or the wrong way. Soul pain comes from feeling your life is one big waste. Mind pain is what I can’t figure out. It’s like when yo throw body, heart, and soul pain into a blender, then you add a cup of disgust at all that you are, at all that you’ve become, at all that you will ever be.

Totally explained what mind pain was! Yes. You don’t really know how to explain it because every piece of you feel wrong, everything hurts.


My Favourite Part (spoiler alert!!!)

My favourite part is when Vicky rescue E.M. out of the stream. And when he asked,

“Why did you save me?”
“I didn’t think about it,” I say.

4 out of 5 stars!!! I recommend to everyone who likes to read this kind of books. If you don’t usually read this kind of book, you can also try it because this book is awesome!!! (although I was very mad at Miguel the Dad)

OH!  BTW, I’m wondering what’s the epilogue talking about?  I don’t understand it.

Happy Reading, guys ~ 😀


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