The one memory of Flora Banks

Emily Barr

Book - 2017

A girl with recurring memory loss chases down the boy she loves based on the one memory she is able to hold onto.

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Subjects
Genres
Romance fiction
Published
New York, NY : Philomel Books [2017]
Edition
First American edition
Language
English
Physical Description
290 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780399547010
0399547010
Main Author
Emily Barr (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* A sufferer of anterograde amnesia, 17-year-old Flora has not been able to create new memories since doctors removed a brain tumor. Every day, she wakes up forgetting everything after age 10 and must use a complex array of notes, phone messages, and maps to negotiate the world. But something happens on the night of Drake's going-away party. She remembers meeting him on the beach, and she remembers kissing him. Desperate to know how and why, Flora assembles a plan—one Post-it note at a time—to travel from England to Svalbard, an island near the North Pole, where Drake works as a research assistant. What follows is a remarkable odyssey of an atypical unreliable narrator—one who cannot rely on herself. Barr has crafted an enthralling story reminiscent of the film Memento, placing readers in the position of Flora's memory. We follow what happens to her across scenes, yet are forced to watch her continually lose sense of time and place. One of the book's driving forces is the hope that Flora will break out of these cycles, using both her ingenuity and grit. The one message that cannot be erased—a tattoo on her hand—encapsulates the book and the character perfectly: Flora, be brave. A deftly, compassionately written mystery. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Flora Banks, 17, has anterograde amnesia, which has left her unable to make new memories. Flora remembers her life around and before age 10, but she must use messages written on her skin, her phone, and in a diarylike notebook to remind her of who she is and to fill in the details of recent history. Everything changes when Flora retains her memory of a kiss on the beach with Drake, her best friend Paige's boyfriend who is leaving to study in the Arctic. In her first book for teens, British author Barr creates a realistic portrayal of Flora's condition through her repetitive and confused first-person narration ("There was a party. Drake is leaving. Paige is sad. I am seventeen. I need to be brave"). Flora fears she will never be "normal," but Barr carefully seeds her story with hope while challenging perceptions of normalcy. Flora's situation may be singular, but her desire for autonomy should speak loudly to teens in the midst of their own journeys into adulthood. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kate Cooper, Curtis Brown. (May) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—Flora Banks, 17, who lives in Penzanze, England, has only one memory: kissing her best friend's boyfriend, Drake Andreassen, on the beach the night before he leaves for Svalbard, Norway. Flora has anterograde amnesia. Her memory is spotty at best and lasts from one to three hours until it resets. Because of this, Flora writes everything down on her arm, which is tattooed with her mantra, "Be Brave." But why does she remember this kiss? Flora's parents leave in a hurry to help her dying brother, who lives in France with his partner. Flora's best friend, Paige, is supposed to stay with her during this time, but Paige refuses to help her because of the kiss. After receiving adoring emails from Drake, Flora is off to Norway on her own to find him, only to discover the truth about not only Drake but also herself. Flora must verbally repeat what she believes to be true over and over. While this detail may make the book sound repetitive, it truly allows teens to understand the protagonist's condition. The story is fast-paced, and even reluctant readers will be engaged by Flora and her family, who are in dire need of an intervention. Ultimately, this title will leave readers with a sense of hope and faith in the human spirit. VERDICT True fans will await the possibility of a sequel. A strong choice for YA shelves.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A girl with no short-term memory experiences a miraculous connection in her fractured mind upon kissing a certain boy and embarks on a remarkable, against-all-odds journey to reunite with him on the other side of the world as part of an effort to reclaim her life. A first young adult novel. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A girl with recurring memory loss chases down the boy she loves based on the one memory she is able to hold onto.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

It's not a lie if you can't remember the truth.  'mesmerizing, electric, and achingly lovely, The One Memory of Flora Banks is unforgettable. One of the best YA novels I've read in a very long time.' --Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places   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'in Svalbard, Norway'Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.   But will following Drake be the key to unlocking Flora's memory? Or will the journey reveal that nothing is quite as it seems?   Already a bestselling debut in the UK, this unforgettable novel is Memento meets We Were Liars and will have you racing through the pages to unravel the truth.Praise for The One Memory of Flora Banks:An EW Most Anticipated YA Novel of 2017" "[A] remarkable odyssey...an enthralling story...a deftly, compassionately written mystery.' 'Booklist, starred review" "Barr's tale mingles Oliver Sacks'like scientific curiosity with Arctic adventure and YA novel in a way that's equally unsettling, winsome, and terrifying." 'Horn Book, starred review"Perfect for fans of both young adult romance and psychological thrillers, The One Memory of Flora Banks is destined to become one of your favorite beach reads of 2017. Promise." 'Bustle"Mesmerizing, electric, and achingly lovely, The One Memory of Flora Banks is unforgettable. One of the best YA novels I've read in a very long time." 'Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places"Ultimately, this title will leave readers with a sense of hope and faith in the human spirit....A strong choice for YA shelves." 'School Library Journal"Flora's situation may be singular, but her desire for autonomy should speak loudly to teens in the midst of their own journeys into adulthood." 'Publishers Weekly"An affecting portrayal of living with amnesia and discovering one's own agency." 'Kirkus"[T]his is [Barr's] first YA novel and it is a good one. It will not be forgotten by readers." 'VOYA"An extraordinarily moving and original novel, a story of secrecy and lie, love and loss that manages to be both heart-breaking and life-affirming...Barr's first novel for teenagers...is as brave as Flora herself." 'Daily Mail"An icily atmospheric story...captivating...[a] pacy page-turner that packs a significant emotional punch." 'The Guardian