Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Philomel | Penguin Teen
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: Pages
Format: ARC
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.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Dreamland Burning
Release Date: February 21st, 2017
Publisher: Little Brown Books 
Genre: Mystery | Young Adult 
Pages: 365 Pages
Format: ARC
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon


Some bodies won’t stay buried. Some stories need to be told.
When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past, the present, and herself.
One hundred years earlier, a single violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.

Something us Bookworm's deal with is what I call 'shelf-loathing'. Shelf-loathing is when you have a book sitting on your shelf for a long time that when you finally get to reading it, you hate yourself a little bit for waiting so long to read it, that, is shelf-loathing. I have some major shelf-loathing going on right now with Dreamland Burning I cannot believe I've had this book living on my shelf since January and I just got around to reading it now.  My friends, this novel is one-in-a-million.

Every so often we stumble across a rare gem, and when these moments happen unexpectedly it makes it even sweeter. I was not expecting to be so taken by Dreamland Burning. This novel seared itself right into my heart and soul. The story line is no easy read. Jennifer Latham tackles the racism that still lurks in 2017 and the Race Riots that took place in 1921. She delivers the story in a dual-perspective and did so flawlessly. Not once do either characters blur. They both stand so strongly on their own.

We are first introduced to 17 year old, Rowan. Rowan's family is in the early stages of renovations on their 'back house', during this process, a skeleton is unearthed. Rowan goes on a mission to dig up the truth and get justice for the crime that was committed.  Then we are transported back to 1921 and whisked into the life of Will Tillman, a 17 year old boy growing up during the midst of segregation and the uprising of the KKK.

Both stories will keep you on the very edge of your seat. Your heart will open up to these characters and during the moments you are not reading, you will be left thinking about them, wondering how their story ends.

Jennifer Latham penned an unforgettable coming-of-age story. She not only crafted beautiful characters but she brought forward a piece of history that I had not known about. She left me wanting to learn so much more about this time in history. It's pacing is perfect and will leave you flying through the pages with a burning intensity. Dreamland Burning will forever stay with me and I cannot wait for Jennifer Latham's future work!




Monday, April 10, 2017

Netflix Review: 13 Reasons Why


Release Date: March 31st, 2017
Creator: Jay Asher(book)
Creator: Brian Yorky
Time: 60 Minutes
Rating: Mature
Thirteen Reasons Why, based on the best-selling books by Jay Asher, follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers a group of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) -his classmate and crush-who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, Thirteen Reasons Why weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect viewers. Written by Studio






To say that I wasn't prepared for the impact this show was going to have on me would be an understatement. The book itself left me emotional, but seeing all of this pain and all of this heartbreak unfold right in front of your eyes is a whole other story. All of me wanted to devour this series but I held back. I wanted to savour each moment of this story. I resisted the urge to binge watch and I am so glad I did. I know I would have loved it just the same, but I am so glad I gave myself time to process each episode.

First off, a standing ovation to the spectacular cast. There isn't a word grand enough to describe what an outstanding job they all did. If there was ever the opportunity for a Netflix series to be nominated for the Oscars, this would be it. Each actor and actress gave an academy-award winning performance. I was continually blown away as each episode went by as I watched their stories come to life. Taking on the task of playing these characters would be no easy feat for even the most seasoned of actors, and this cast delivered each character flawlessly. In fact, they brought a whole new dimension to this story. Although this series was created because of the book, they really made it into something that stands so strongly on it's own.

I love the fact that Netflix picked this up. I love that 13 Reasons Why was given the freedom it needed to really tell the story. They pushed the boundaries, they went honest. The show was graphic and at times intentionally cringe-worthy. There were times that made it uncomfortable to watch because they wanted to capture the real and raw intensity of those moments. 13 Reasons Why truly shows us what how our actions can affect someone.

Katherine Langford took the Hannah we all grew to love and brought her to life. It is rare that an actor can live up to the potential of a character, but in this case, she not only played Hannah, she became Hannah. I did not see Katherine Langford once throughout the series, I saw Hannah Baker, the pained, broken, witty and lovely Hannah Baker.

Let's talk about Dylan Minette(Clay Jensen). I loved him in Don't Breath and was thrilled when I learned I'd get to see him again in 13 Reasons Why. What I wasn't expecting was to be so entranced by his performance. He is a powerhouse. At the young age of 20 years old, he has proven that he can stand not only beside the best of actors, but above them. His preformance struck my heart. I will always see Clay Jensen as Dylan Minette and that is just how I want it. I couldn't imagine anyone else doing Clay Jensen justice.

Now, let's address the soundtrack. My notes from this series mostly consist of the music that played throughout each episode. Kudos to Eskmo and the entire sound production for putting together one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard. Each moment that was captured was intensified by the most perfect song choice. And, I know I am not the only one that was hypnotized by the Dance scene between Clay and Hannah, and that song that made the entire moment, The Night We Met by Lord Huron.



I am in mourning over the end of this series. I had no idea the impact this show was going to have on me. If I was told I'd have to erase the memory of every show/film I'd ever seen, but could save only one, it would be 13 Reasons Why. This show sprung so many emotions and questions inside of me. It is a show that I want to share with our youth. Schools need to be picking this up to share with their classes. I truly believe that this show could change lives. It moved me in a way that no other production has ever moved me. I hope the cast gets the recognition that they ALL so deserve. And of course, Jay Asher, the man himself that changed our lives with 13 Reasons Why







 
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