Author: Emily Barr
Series Number: 1
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House NZ to review.
Summary: 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’m honestly so glad i picked up this book. i was a little weary as it sounded like it’d be full of cliches and horrible stereotypes. for the first half of this book, that’s exactly what it feels like. it isn’t till the second half/near the end where we learn that it’s nothing like that at all. i was so worried that flora would be cured of her amnesia because of kissing a guy (which is one big yawn). instead it’s emphasised how she’s remembering something when she shouldn’t be able to. flora goes on an adventure and does things that she’s previously believed she couldn’t do. (it’s so hard to not give spoilers here, it’s so good and all i want to do is talk about it).
in the end the biggest let down was the slow start. i found it hard to get into. i think this is because flora is mentally still a ten year old and it makes for a rather boring narrator. plus, it’s highly repetitive. i found myself skipping large chunks of text as she’s just summarising what she knows. in saying this, it’s also highly accurate to the illness that flora is coping with, which is why i didn’t rate it lower for this. i’m more than happy that she thinks and acts like a ten year old. i thought she’d somehow act like the seventeen year old that she is, but she doesn’t. i mean, how can someone act 17 if they have no memories of the past 7 years.
okay then there’s the characters. this kinda goes with the stereotypes i mentioned earlier – which were entirely blown to hell and back. flora kissed a guy. that guy is her best friends boyfriend. the guy turns out to be a douche and her friend (although being problematic at first) forgives her and together they shit talk the guy. i love it.
i found the characters so unique and interesting. flora was so impulsive and fun to read. i loved seeing her cope with everything (writing notes, etc) and living her life even with everything that’s happened to her. her mum has told her she can’t do this or that and she’s proved time and time again that she can. no illness can stop her.
i feel so bad for flora’s mum. she’s gone through so much and has so many psychological issues. yes, she shouldn’t treat flora the way she does, but i can see why she did. i’d like to read a story of her mum going through everything and possibly even getting the help she clearly needs. i completely disagree with the father and wish he’d done something sooner to help flora instead of pretending it was for the best.
anyway, i really liked the ending. it definitely wasn’t what i was expecting. i got really sad over the turn of events and honestly want nothing but the best for flora. it was so well written. everyone has their issues and their ways of coping with it. i’m glad that this was explored throughout the book. i would really love to know what happens next in flora’s life and how far she goes. (although i think this is a standalone).
i definitely recommend this book to everyone. i think it’s a phenomenal read (and also helped me out of a slump, which is great). emily barr did a good job writing this as it felt really realistic.
thank you penguin random house nz for sending me a copy to review!