Publisher: Philomel | Penguin Teen
Genre: Young Adult
Source: From the Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon Ca | Amazon
Received this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Firstly, I want to congratulate Emily Barr on her Young Adult debut. She definitely came in with a bang tackling a unique issue and an even more unique character. The One Memory of Flora Banks has everything you want in a novel. Mystery, suspense, romance and a head-spinning twist.
Like it's premise, I had a unique relationship with this novel. Overall, as a whole, I enjoyed it. However, during the reading experience, there were moments that I found it difficult to stay connected, and I think that was due to the repetition. But, how does one deliver this type story without repetition? That is where I struggled. You see, when Flora was 10, she had a tumour removed, which in part, removed her long-term memory. Everything prior to her surgery she remembers, but anything after that is erased either hours later or each night. When Flora awakens in the morning, she thinks she is back to being 10 years old, that is until she reads her journal that brings her up to speed. This journal and/or Flora's memory of the kiss pops up quite often, and I found myself skimming through sequences of the book to avoid some of the repetitions. Another thing I struggled with, Flora's dialogue. I knew that she was a 17-year-old girl, however, her speech and interactions were as if she was 10 years old. I'm not pointing that out as a negative, just that it was hard for me to connect with.
Flora has a breakthrough with her memory loss when she kisses a boy(that happens to be her BFF's boyfriend) and remembers it. Day after day, she can recall this kiss and this boy. Is one kiss all it takes to put Flora's brain back together again? Flora then goes on a mission to hunt Drake down and heal her brain.
Overall, I think Barr hit every note she wanted to deliver. She created a memorable character and tackled an issue that I haven't had experience with in the world of books. The mystery will keep you hanging on, eager to know how everything ends up.