The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: January 12th 2017
Format: eARC (303 pages)
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.
With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.
My Rating: ★★★★★
This story was a real whirlwind in every sense of the word. I was swept up in the emotion, the sadness, the beauty, the wonder, the honesty. I really, really enjoyed this one.
The One Memory of Flora Banks tells the story of Flora, a seventeen year old who suffers with anterograde amnesia. Flora has vivid memories of her childhood but now her brain resets itself every few hours and she forgets everything. Through a series of notes written to herself, Flora restarts her life every few hours. This is a story of how Flora truly finds her courage and begins to discover herself and what she is capable of.
There were a lot of things that I liked about this book. The story itself was interesting although (and I have to say this) something about the first memory Flora successfully creates being a kiss with a boy really jarred with me for a while. It got a little tiring that so much of this story focussed on that but by the end I understood the necessity of it. The ending of this story really blew me away and is the real reason I had to give this book five stars. I thought it was actually fantastic and seemed like the perfect ending for Flora. It also reassured me to know that this did not turn out to be the typical YA ‘girl meets boy who fixes her’ which was a huge concern of mine at the beginning. This is actually a wonderful story of self-discovery.
I really loved Flora as a character. I thought she was sweet, funny and quite charming. It is no wonder that so many other characters in the book such as Agi and Toby were so willing to help her. There is certainly something very endearing about the character that has been created with Flora. I enjoyed the way the writing reflected Flora’s amnesia. Although it hurt my head a little to all of a sudden be thrown back into the darkness of not knowing who the people were or what was going on, this was so effective and special in the way it really made us empathise with Flora.
All of the characters in this book are relatable. All of them are well written and characters that I was genuinely interested in. I was easily able to lose myself in Flora’s world. The descriptions were so engaging and vivid that I truly felt like I was there with her on this wonderful adventure.
This story was so well written and well thought out. The end of this really blew me away and I wasn’t quite expecting it. It seemed so perfect and the last few chapters really brought my emotions to the surface. It showed just how damaging some of the most caring people in our lives can be when driven by certain emotions.
Flora’s story is truly touching, emotional but scattered with glimmers of hope and plenty of moments to make you smile.
Thank you to Netgalley, Penguin and Emily Barr for my copy in exchange for an honest review.