Title: The One Memory Of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Adventure
Publication Date: January 12th 2017
Summary: I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.
Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.
Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.
But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.
Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?
I picked up The One Memory of Flora Banks quite a while ago in the hope it was a contemporary that i would enjoy. I knew very little about it before i picked it up. And surprise surprise, it was YALC that pushed me in to reading it.
Emily Barr is set to attend YALC this year and i’m getting myself more interested in the contemporary authors attending so i can get some contemporary YA writing tips for myself from them. I was very unsure about this novel when i first started reading it, and i still had to take a break to somewhat gather my thoughts on it.
Flora has amnesia and she lives her life being told who she is, where she lives and what happened to her. Her parents make her carry a book everywhere she goes that explains everything and the only people who really know her are her family and best friend Paige. Flora remembers no-one but these. I thought this novel would end up being a classic contemporary based around Flora’s life and there’s some deep dark secret she’s trying to figure out (and yes, this does happen) however, it was much more adventure based than i thought it would be.
My main worry about this kind of story line is how it’s addressed. Is it going to be done well? Is it going to be respectful of the illness that Flora has? And i found it refreshing now honest it was. We are aware through the novel that Flora takes medication for her memory, however she stops during the story. Barr made sure that she showed the effects of Flora stopping medication in her behavior, something i wasn’t expecting and didn’t actually pick up on until closer to the end of the novel. It was quite fun to look back and see the change in her behavior and how well that was written.
Towards the end of the story i found it quite confusing and difficult to follow. I don’t know if that was me personally, but because the writing of Flora’s mental state was so frantic, i found the story difficult to follow and at times i couldn’t fit where she was or what situation she was in. To an extent this is the showing of a great author who can make the reader feel as though they were experiencing what Flora was, however i found it a little confusing personally.
In regards to ‘classic YA contemporary’, it was a little cliche and a little ‘same-y’. I enjoyed the story and there were enough twists and interesting characters to keep me interested. However, if you’re looking for a life changing YA novel, this might not be the one for you. It was exciting and entertaining, but not life changing.
I’m really glad i got chance to read this before YALC, and i’m excited to see what Barr has to say about the story!