Publication Date: 12th January 2017 from Penguin Childrens
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 LOVED this book.
All because of Flora. Sometimes a character just speaks to you and Flora has an amazingly strong and indelible voice – the whole of this story is told from her point of view, although often necessarily repetitive each reboot she gives to herself has added nuance and emotion – Emily Barr moving the story forward with gentle yet incredibly addictive pace. This is one of those books I label beautiful – beautiful writing, beautiful characters and in the end a whole truck load of beautifully emotional shots through the heart.
Utterly compelling throughout as we follow Flora, learning about herself, those around her, then doing it all over again readjusting her senses, one of the strongest components of this particular story is within the relationships she forms with others. Her best friend, her parents, those she meets along the way, all seen by the reader through the filter of Flora’s memory. Her notes to herself form her next decision process, she is alive on the page and absolutely captured my heart.
The scene setting is also gorgeous – from Penzance to Svalbard the author paints a picture, again filtered through this girl, Flora, who is seeing it all for the first time all the time – it made me want to follow the journey she takes, to the land of the midnight sun. One day perhaps I will.
There is a mystery element layered into the story, the feeling that there is more to Flora’s situation than meets the eye, that perhaps not everyone is being honest with her – the whole novel is a journey of discovery not only for Flora but for the other characters we learn about along the way and for the reader. It made me cry. Proper real cathartic tears.Flora’s life rules may be ones to live by.
For me a truly wonderful novel. If this is how Emily Barr is going to write YA then I’m going to read every single one. But there will never be another Flora..
Highly Recommended. Be brave and watch out for Polar Bears…
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