Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr


I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA Be brave.

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.

I can’t begin to tell you how much this book blindsided me. When I first got my hands on the excerpt, I thought this was just going to be your average Young Adult quick read. Amnesia as well as its effect and impact on other people always intrigued me, so I started reading and finishing it as soon as possible.

While it feels strange reading the same blurb of words every few pages, it is more than necessary to show Flora’s memory reset. It’s interesting how differently she reacts to it and the words she wrote on her skin. (Also kudos to Emily Barr for coming up with so many ways to summarize the same portion again and again). The only constant thing is the memory of kissing her best friend’s boyfriend.

Kissing a boy being the reason she suddenly remembers something and thus getting obsessed with him sounds quite cliché and unhealthy. And it is. But let me tell you: This book is more of a self-discovery journey. The boy is just one of the many reasons our protagonists starts her journey. We won’t see the boy again for some time and in between we get to meet so many different people who help Flora along her way.

Something I really love is that moment when you thought the book to be already over but the plot actually just starts. It felt like a rollar coaster going up and down, taking every looping plot twist it could with it. It’s certainly an important point to keeping it from being predictable and I’m thankful for it.

So, if you find yourself wanting to enrich yourself on how to live in the moment and how to find yourself, this book is clearly something for you. And if that isn’t your primary concern, Emily Barr’s writing manages to perfectly capture the beauty of the Arctic.
It felt so real that I had to stop myself from just hopping on a plane and having my own adventure.


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