- Forget Me Not
At first, Ally thinks she is hiding in her school's haunted hallway to get away from the buzz of gossip, since a picture of her, naked in a boy's bed, is being texted around school. She mulls over her life to this point, reviewing her sadness over her mother's abandonment, the exhilaration she feels when she's performing on stage, and the sweetness of her secret romance with Davis, who swears he'd rather be with her than his popular senior girlfriend Darla. What she can't figure out, though, are who the other people in the hallway are—the nun who keeps knitting a small pink sweater that unravels as soon as she's finished, the couple that never seems to stop kissing, and the angry, bossy boy who wants to play hangman all the time. Elijah, a boy in her class who is in love with her, knows who they are—they are all people who have died on the grounds of the school over the years. He also knows that Ally is there because she is on the threshold of life and death, in a coma after having jumped from the roof of the school. Can Elijah convince her that no matter how painful life is, it's better than the alternative? The novel blends free verse with [End Page 241] other genres, and the poetry is particularly effective, with Dean using various poetic and dramatic forms to indicate shifts in character, theme, and perspective. Most of the story is told through poems in the voices of Ally and Elijah, but there are also mini-plays featuring the ghosts in the hallway, allowing these characters to tell their stories in their own voices. Ally's self-exploration is thought-provoking as she comes to understand the point at which the joy of performing and being noticed becomes a debilitating need, and she begins to realize that the path she is on will lead her nowhere good. The plot of the perils of pursuing high school popularity at any cost may be a well-worn one, but this sensitive and insightful treatment is as fresh and moving as it is beautifully written.