rhia reviews: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher & netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks’ mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten. 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, 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.

My Goodreads rating: ★★★
This is a strange and somewhat disappointing book. Flora has anteretrograde amnesia, which means she’s constantly forgetting everything that’s happened since she was ten – which means a lot of repetition. Flora has to be reminded constantly of her name and age, and what she’s doing, which means we as readers too have to be reminded so there’s a lot of telling.
The actual story is good. Flora really seems to come out of her shell and eventually goes on one heck of an adventure, but on the other hand you do see her really struggling. I liked Flora as a narrator even though she is so unreliable, but I found the repetition really exhausting. I understand what it was supposed to impart about the story but it felt like half the book was ‘I am Flora and I am seventeen’. I also would have liked to see more of the side plot with Flora’s parents & brother.

I did enjoy this book but in my opinion the writing let it down.


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