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Memory Index - Julian R. Vaca



Nothing can prepare Freya and her friends for the truth of what that bunker holds. And what kind of memories she’ll have to access to survive it.

In a world where memories are like currency, dreams can be a complicated business.

In an alternative 1987, a disease ravages human memories. There is no cure, only artificial recall. The lucky ones—the recollectors—need the treatment only once a day.

Freya Izquierdo isn’t lucky. The high school senior is a “degen” who needs artificial recall several times a day. Plagued by blinding half-memories that take her to her knees, she’s desperate to remember everything that will help her investigate her father’s violent death. When her sleuthing almost lands her in jail, a shadowy school dean selects her to attend his Foxtail Academy, where five hundred students will trial a new tech said to make artificial recall obsolete.

She’s the only degen on campus. Why was she chosen? Freya is nothing like the other students, not even her new friends Ollie, Chase, and the alluring Fletcher Cohen. Definitely not at all like the students who start to vanish, one by one. And nothing like the mysterious Dean Mendelsohn, who has a bunker deep in the woods behind the school.

Nothing can prepare Freya and her friends for the truth of what that bunker holds. And what kind of memories she’ll have to access to survive it.


“A clever and empathetic work of speculative fiction that examines the power and fragility of memory, recommended for general purchase. Cinematic writing, teen sleuthing, and a nostalgic setting make this book a great recommendation to fans of Stranger Things.”

—School Library Journal

". . . a brilliant debut. A novel concept, fascinating characters, and a stirring plot add up to an unforgettable story that promises to be just the first of many by a wildly talented author."

—Andrew Maraniss, New York Times bestselling author

“A thrill ride from beginning to end! I don’t need artificial recall to confirm . . . an unforgettable read. Vaca delivers a poignant and visionary novel reminiscent of retro science fiction. He’s one to watch.”

—Caroline George, author of The Summer We Forgot and Dearest Josephine

“Vaca's debut is a thrilling and often unsettling examination of the elusive nature of memory and truth. The Memory Index will leave you breathlessly turning pages until its satisfying conclusion.”

 —Jonathan Evison, New York Times bestselling author of Small World


Julian Vaca Web Author


Julian R. Vaca has been a creative writer for over a decade. He's a staff writer on PBS's Reconnecting Roots, a nationally-broadcast show that drew in millions of viewers over its first two seasons. He's also the co-writer of Pencil Test, a feature-length documentary that's being executive produced by Disney animation legend Tom Bancroft (Earnest Films, 2023). Julian lives in Nashville with his family.

Connect with him at

Instagram: @JulianRayVaca
Twitter @JulianRVaca
Facebook: @JulianRVaca


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