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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
My Rating: Four out of Five Stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
I think this is the kind of book that you should go into knowing as little as possible. So I’ll do my best to review this without giving away spoilers, or any details about the plot aside from what’s already given in the description.
I think it’s hard not to like or enjoy reading this book, it has the perfect mix of mystery, thriller, adventure, and coming-of-age. It has an unforgettable main character, and a gripping plot line. That’s basically all you need to know but if you insist to know more, then continue reading.
“Flora, be brave.”
Flora Banks has anterograde amnesia, so she’s unable to make new memories since she was 10. She relies on the writings on her hands and the ones on her notebook to remind her of things. Her best friend and parents also help her a lot by guiding and keeping an eye on her. But when a string of events happen, she finds herself in an adventure on her own and only one memory to hold on to.
I remember that I stopped reading this at one point because I was so scared of what might happen next. For a contemporary, it holds a really good mystery and the suspense was thrilling. Not knowing what will happen next had me reading page after page because I only knew what Flora knew and which was very little.
Flora is one of the most unreliable narrators ever. This is written in her POV, which had both its ups and downs. I had to experience the story the way Flora did, which was an effective way for me to understand anterograde amnesia and bring the suspense factor. But there were times that it became monotonous and repetitive, Flora needs to remember things over and over again, which made me read the same details over and over again. It also made the pacing of the story slow towards the middle.
Despite that, the writing was still engaging. The other thing that I didn’t like was the ending, it was a bit rushed and everything ended abruptly. And because of that I have a lot questions as to what happened next.
I have nothing else negative to say for this book. I have so many things that I loved. First, is Flora Banks’ character—unique, memorable, and brave. I admired her so much, she’s one of the strongest main characters ever. Another is the setting, I never thought I would want to go to somewhere close to the Arctic before this, all the snow and cold breeze added to whole mysterious feel. I also like that it wasn’t romantic or centered on the romance, it was truly Flora Banks’ story or adventure towards discovering and re-discovering her past and self. It’s safe to say the it’s a coming-of-age story, the family aspect and friendship is also something to look forward to.
Lastly, the thing I loved most is that this book taught me to live the moment, as Flora will forget everything after a few hours she does her best to take hold of the present while she can still remember it. She taught me that you don’t need a memory to live the moment. This left a great impact on me, as for I take the pleasure remembering things for granted.
The One Memory of Flora Banks is one book you need to look out for, it’s gripping and unforgettable. Flora Banks’ story is one of a kind and will leave you either with chills or tears. So if you want to read a thought-provoking and suspenseful contemporary, then don’t forget to pick this one up! I promise, it’s one of the novels that you won’t forget.
Thank you so much Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an eARC of this book.
Guest review contributed by Genie Reads. Geniereads is run by a full time reader and a part time blogger. This blog is mainly focused on posting book reviews and other bookish stuff.