The One Memory Of Flora Banks is a young adult contemporary novel.
The prologue opens with an abstract scene from a beautiful, cold place. The narrator is running away from a dangerous hut; she can’t remember why.
Chapter one begins in Penzance, Cornwall. Seventeen year old Flora Banks is at a party, observing rather than participating; she’s feeling self-conscious about wearing what she considers the wrong type of clothes. The party is for Drake, her best friend Paige’s boyfriend, who is leaving to study in Svalbord, a Norwegian town in the Arctic circle.
Flora has Anterograde Amnesia left from a brain tumour when she was ten. To aid her ill-functioning memory, Flora writes herself notes: on her hands, on post-it notes and in her notebook. At home, there are notes written all over the house to remind her of family life.
Flora’s only friend is Paige, but they fall out when Paige discovers that Flora kissed Drake at the party. For Flora is was a spark of hope; she remembered the kiss the next day and the day after; it remains with her, precious in her memory.
Circumstances conspire to leave Flora home alone, and she worries how she will cope without the support of her family, but is warmed by her secret feelings for Drake; though miles away, he keeps in touch with her, and she soon realises that her feelings are reciprocated. The hope of happiness and need to see him takes her on a difficult, potentially perilous, journey, through Norway and up to Svalbord
This is such a moving read. Emily Barr has created a great sense of Flora’s world as she writes notes, reads and re-reads them; we’re pulled right in and live life through Flora’s eyes. The courage she shows as she picks herself up from moments of panic and tears to once again “Be Brave” brought tears to my eyes, and I was one hundred percent behind Flora as she made a last decision to take control of her own life. I highly recommend this book to both young and old readers.
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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.
About the author
Emily Barr worked as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. She went travelling for a year, writing a column in the Guardian about it as she went, and it was there that she had an idea for a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, which won the WH Smith New Talent Award. She has since written eleven more adult novels published in the UK and around the world, and a novella, Blackout, for the Quick Reads series. Her twelfth novel, The Sleeper, is a psychological thriller set on the London to Cornwall sleeper train.
In 2013 she went to Svalbard with the idea of setting a thriller in the Arctic. The book that came out of it was The One Memory of Flora Banks, a thriller for young adults, which attracted universal interest from publishers before being bought pre-emptively by Penguin earlier this year. It will be published globally in January 2017.
She lives in Cornwall with her partner and their children.
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