Title | The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author | Emily Barr
Pages | 303
Publisher | Penguin
Series | None
Release Date | January 2017
Find it on Goodreads and Amazon
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.
The One Memory of Flora Banks was a book that I didn’t expect to get read this month. I grabbed a copy on the way to Manchester and decided I’d get it read on the coach. It’s fair to admit that my assumption from the beginning of the story was that this would not be something I enjoyed – despite all the fabulous reviews I’ve seen floating around. Yet all prejudices aside, this book was something I really enjoyed reading.
I am really here. Yet I know I am not. I am inside something that must be buried in my head. I am layers deep in my own brain.
The story follows the life of Flora Banks, a girl who has anterograde amnesia. As a result she has to write down basic facts about herself on her arms for when she can no longer remember. I cannot imagine how terrifying it must be to be thinking one thing one minute, and then the next you believe you’re ten again and have no idea where you are. I’d be fairly emotional, and Flora deals with it incredibly well. So it is more than fair to say that Flora is a character of both depth and development. Her courage is admiring as she embarks on a trip that even I, a person with intact memory, wouldn’t be able to have.
The inside of my head is out of control. It is on fire. It is snowing. It is a wild jungle. It is an Arctic wilderness. It is everything that has ever happened and everything that ever will happen, all at once.
I expected the book to be a lot more sinister than it was. There wasn’t much foulplay, and when I first picked up this book, the synopsis led me to believe that there was a murder. However, although the book is completely different to what I first expected, I really honestly enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading about Flora and Drake. I enjoyed reading as her memory began to unravel. I enjoyed reading when Flora captivated all the strangers she met. The One Memory of Flora Banks is definitely a story that has a few unexpected twists and turns – but I love that about it. It’s completely different to other fiction I have read – and I’m pleased it became part of Zoella’s Books Club!
Don’t panic, because everything is probably all right, and it it’s not, panicking will make it worse.
Emily Barr has really set the standard with this book, and I can’t wait to read her further works! I believe that the book is well deserving of its place in Zoella’s Book Club, and I would definitely recommend this story to every other YA reader and blogger. Thank you to Emily Barr for writing such a fantastic novel!
Usually a book goes through several cover changes in its lifetime. Most variation depends on the publishing location. The One Memory of Flora Banks is available in the following cover formats.
Don’t just take my word for it! Here are what a few other bloggers worldwide had to say about the book.
Emily @ A Cup of Witt Tea says “If you are looking for a new YA read, I cannot recommend ‘The One Memory of Flora Banks’ enough.”
Camilla @ Twenty Three Pages says “If you’re looking for a light read with serious undertones, I strongly recommend picking this up.”
Aoife @ Pretty Purple Polka Dots says “A fantastic journey of self-discovery, an intriguing look at life with amnesia, and a reminder that maybe your parents aren’t always right.”
About Emily Barr
Emily Barr worked as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. She went travelling for a year, writing a column in the Guardian about it as she went, and it was there that she had an idea for a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, which won the WH Smith New Talent Award. She has since written eleven more adult novels published in the UK and around the world, and a novella, Blackout, for the Quick Reads series. Her twelfth novel, The Sleeper, is a psychological thriller set on the London to Cornwall sleeper train.
In 2013 she went to Svalbard with the idea of setting a thriller in the Arctic. The book that came out of it was The One Memory of Flora Banks, a thriller for young adults, which attracted universal interest from publishers before being bought pre-emptively by Penguin earlier this year. It will be published globally in January 2017.
She lives in Cornwall with her partner and their children.