Monday, 7 August 2017

THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS - by Emily Barr

THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS - Emily Barr
Published: 2017 - by Penguin.
Pages: 303.
Genres: Young adult / contemporary fiction
Triggers/Content Advisory:  I'd give this book PG for some mild, suggestive sexual content.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book 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.


That cover. That cover, people. Is it just me, or is it seriously aesthetic?
It also sets the tone perfectly for this heartbreaking but beautiful story.


This book is beautiful. The writing's gentle, poetic, and heartbreakingly raw and honest.  Flora's utterly unreliable narration is understandingly repetitive, but I was never bored by it. It's gripping, mesmerising, and I had a lump in my throat for most of the book. It's painful and gut-wrenching, but I was totally immersed in Flora's world. Barr has dived into Flora's personality and her situation brilliantly, and gets deep inside her character's head. It's truly, horrifyingly, spellbinding. I ached so much, but loved every chilling minute.  

The descriptions are wonderful. Vivid, ethereal, and completely realistic. The language is unique, and the settings are characters in themselves - whether it be the snowy, broken wonderland Flora enters when she goes to the Arctic, or the coastal idyllicy of her own hometown that profoundly contrasts with the torment inside her head.
Setting plays a huge part in the story, and it's given superb attention and personality.

The story is slow in parts, but I personally didn't mind. The writing is gentle but powerful, and that eased me along at a comfortable pace. Towards the end, however, I was completely gripped. The twists came sharp and shocking, and I literally couldn't put the book down.
So the pace does pick up, despite some slow passages. And even during the slower sections, I wouldn't call it boring.

“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.”

Flora's such a compelling, unique heroine. As tragic as it was, I loved being inside her head and getting vivid, unreliable accounts of her life, situations, and relationships. She's so brave, so beautifully broken, and I was wanted to hug her for the duration of the book.  My heart shattered for her.
I loved the secondary characters. They all get decent development, and I particularly adored Paige, Jacob and Agi. They're all very human, and I loved their relationships with Flora. And in Paige's case, how that relationship grew.
I never liked Drake. For the sake of spoilers, I can't say much, but I'll leave it at "I hate him".




The One Memory of Flora Banks is gut-wrenching and beautifully written, with unique characters and a remarkable heroine. The settings and descriptions are gorgeous, and the story's as much permeated with hope as it is with pain.      


10 comments:

  1. This looks like a beautiful book! I don't mind slow passages as long as the writing is deep and meaningful, and from what I'm getting here, I think it is! Thanks for the review, Amy!

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    1. It is! And the writing definitely is, as well.
      Sure Emily :)

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  2. I love the cover too! It's just so gorgeous. Anyhow, this book sounds amazing! I love books that contain beautiful descriptions. Plus I'm curious to learn more about Flora. I can't even imagine what it would be like to remember almost nothing. Great review! :)

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    1. Right?! Yay! You should read it - the descriptions are beautiful, and Flora is fascinating.
      Thank you Lauren :)

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  3. This book sounds interesting... Definitely not for me though. There is never a good reason to kiss your best friend's boyfriend (or for him to kiss you). I feel like I would hate the romance and Drake as well. :/ That's okay though! I'm glad you enjoyed this book for the most part, Amy.

    Have a wonderful week! =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. There's a lot more to it than that, actually. But yeah, the romance and Drake was horrible; still, it wasn't condoned, either.

      Thanks, you too!

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  4. I've heard such great things about this book! Flora sounds like a remarkable heroine and I love that there's a good cast of secondary characters as well. I don't even mind a slightly slower pace if the rest of it is done well. Great review, Amy!

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. She definitely is, and the secondary characters are great as well :)
      Thanks Tanya!

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  5. Yay, I'm so glad you loved this, Amy! I really feel like rereading it but...*looks at TBR pile* I don't think that would be a wise idea. XD

    Beautiful review!

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    1. Me too, Kyra! Haha maybe not.... ;)

      Thank you!

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