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.
Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything, The One Memory of Flora Banks is a poignant and heart-stopping read about remembering, forgetting, and the extent to which we try to protect those we love. Ever since I heard about The One Memory of Flora Banks, I knew this was a novel I would adore — and I was right. In some ways, it felt very similar to The Memory Book as while The Memory Book was infinitely more gut-wrenching and one you knew you needed tissues for and The One Memory of Flora Banks had an element of hopefulness and adventurousness, they were united by the protagonists both suffering from memory loss and explored the repercussions of that. This book was as frightening as it was compelling and forced you to imagine a world in which you couldn’t remember the things we all take for granted in recalling at the drop of a hat. The One Memory of Flora Banks took the ‘discovering who you are’ trope and put a new spin on it, weaving a unique and touching narrative out of a question we all ask ourselves.
Perfectly capturing Flora’s own memory loss, The One Memory of Flora Banks breathtakingly intertwines the ideas of love, loss, and living in the moment in a uniquely compelling way that will haunt the reader long after the final page. While I thought it was a brilliant idea to write in first person and in such a way that really captured Flora’s memory loss, sometimes it was frustrating as we were told the same things over and over, just as Flora was remembering them seemingly for the first time. It was somewhat annoying to have almost a third of the novel being purely retelling or her remembering things because of her memory loss and while I understood that it had to be realistic and it wouldn’t have been the same if it were written in third person, it could be quite slow in parts because of that. But ultimately, it was a really unique way of writing and I don’t think it could have been done any better.
I fell in love with Flora’s heart-wrenching, moving story and I was completely enthralled by this journey of remembering and self-discovery I was taken on. She was such a loveable character and it was so interesting to learn her backstory and hear about her family, and I was pleased to find that this information was released slowly and because of that, I just couldn’t stop reading. The search for answers was what really propelled this novel forward and in many ways, it was as much a mystery as it was a contemporary story. The romance was absolutely adorable and I loved watching this love bloom into something truly extraordinary, and the friendship element was also a major aspect of The One Memory of Flora Banks. For anyone who loves contemporary novels with a twist, this one is simply a must-read.
Ultimately, The One Memory of Flora Banks is a beautifully-written, evocative novel that is bound to bring you to tears, and I’m sure it will be one of the most talked about books of 2017.
Have you had the chance to read this one yet? Are you a fan of health-related YA novels? Have you read any other novels with similar themes or involving memory loss? I’d love to know!
Thanks to Penguin Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!