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The One Memory of Flora Banks Emily Barr

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published in: 2017
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★
Find it here: The One Memory of Flora Banks

This ARC was provided by Penguin Random House (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: I was intrigued by the premise of this story about girl who has no short term memory and it was an interesting read. I really liked Flora’s character and her coping mechanisms, which seemed very realistic. There were other parts of the book, however, that just felt completely unrealistic given what we are told about Flora’s family background. Don’t get me wrong, certain things needed to happen for the story to occur, but I think a less dramatic action than travelling to the Arctic alone would have been both more in keeping with the back story and more believable for the reader.

I did enjoy  the slow build up. Since Flora can remember nothing outside of kissing Drake, she constantly needs to remind herself, and hence the reader, what has actually happened to her. There are actually several hidden clues throughout the narrative that show us that things are not exactly as Flora remembers them. We, the reader, can work out the clues, but Flora herself has no idea. These reminders also mean that a lot of the actual narrative is repetitive as Flora consults her notebook, her hands, her arms, and her phone to remember who she is, where she is, and why she is there. The repetition is not a bad thing because it immerses the reader in what it is like to be Flora.

Flora is a great character who comes across as a mix between a vunerable 10 year old and a 17 year-old who is desperately trying to be an adult. She swings between these two ends of the spectrum, at times desperate for her parents and at other times desperate to be herself. I generally liked the secondary characters, however,  all too nice (with the exception of one) and as such there was no feeling of tension. There are sad situations and hints of complicated family relationships and issues around guilt.

Overall, this is a gentle read which ends on a message of hope and has the potential for a follow up book. I think it would be great to see what happens to Flora and the people around her.

Who would like this? The target audience is YA and I would say this would appeal to girls in the younger teen range due to its gentle feeling and lack of sex and violence. For the adults amon,g us I would recommend this to those with an interest with memory loss and coping mechanisms as well as family dynamics and the effects of guilt.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The One Memory of Flora Banks

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

Non 1001 Book Review: The Power Naomi Alderman

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In less than two weeks, we’ll be starting our winter reading challenge. Our challenge page is currently up and in the next 5 days we’ll be updating the page with our official game board. If you want to join in for a fun chutes and ladders based reading game, sign up in the comments on this page and send me your TBR list. In the meantime, we’ll continue with our regular book reviews and features. Book Worm read a book she would like to recommend to our readers: The Power by Naomi Alderman. Here’s her review… Read more

Five books for today

Here are five books that are well suited for today (now please excuse me while I go cry in a corner)… Read more

Our Man Booker 2016 Longlist Musings

Those of you who have been following our blog know that we’ve been doing a shadow panel for the Man Booker longlist books. Our 5 judges (myself included) have been reading through the longlist and tomorrow we will be making our predictions for which books we think will make the shortlist. However, before we get to the shortlist, we wanted to share some of our thoughts about the longlist books. Want to know which author we’d like to have dinner with, which cover we liked best, which book gave us nightmares? Keep reading to find out.

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Terrible Reviews of Great Books: Animal Farm by George Orwell

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We are going to take a brief break from our Man Booker shadow panel to bring our regular feature: Terrible Reviews of Great Books. We’ll be back to our regular posting schedule after the shortlist is announced in mid-september.

There is no such thing as a universally loved book. Each month, we’ll feature a book from Time’s list of the best 100 English language novels of all time. From the nasty to the snarky to the downright absurd, we’ll highlight some of the strange reasons why some people hate these great reads. This month we’ll be taking a look at reviews for Animal Farm by George Orwell.

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2016 Baileys Women’s Prize Winner…

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The winner of the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction goes to The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney! Many congratulations to Lisa McInerney! Neither Book Worm nor I predicted the winner (we did much better predicting the Man Booker last year). I haven’t read this book but I look forward to doing so in the near future.

The Glorious Heresies is Lisa McInerney’s debut novel. She is from Galway, Ireland and was the author of the award-winning (now defunct) blog Arse End of Ireland. You can read more about her and her work on her website. The Irish Times called her ‘arguably the most talented writer at work in Ireland today’.

You can read Book Worm’s review of the winning book here: The Glorious Heresies.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Did it deserve to take home the prize? Will you be reading it?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

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I just so happened to snag a signed copy of this book at book expo this year. This book is getting hyped all over the literary community. It comes out today in bookstores all across the U.S. Is it worth the hype? Read more

One week until Book Expo 2016

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In what is an admittedly self-serving post, I’d like to let our readers know that I will be attending Book Expo this year and am looking for your helpful tips. The giant book convention will take place May 11-May 14 in Chicago. It will be my first time attending and I’m looking for helpful tips and suggestions. I did not register for the bloggers convention but have been debating whether I should try and register for that when I arrive. For those of you have been before, what things do you recommend? Should I attend the bloggers convention on the first day or just wander around exploring on my own?

I’ve been looking forward to attending this all year. My birthday happens to fall in May so I justified taking a week off from my day job as a birthday present to myself.

I’ll be blogging about my experience attending the event and would love to meet up with any fellow bloggers. If you are planning on attending and want to meet up, let me know.  I love meeting readers and fellow bloggers! I will be your loyal friend for life if any of you want to join me for lunch or dinner at a Rick Bayless restaurant (I also happen to be obsessed with Top Chef).

 

1001 Book Review: House of Leaves Mark Z Danielewski

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It’s time for another joint review. This time, Book Worm and I both read House of Leaves. We had pretty different reactions to the book. One of us loved it and the other thought it was just okay. Can you guess which one of us loved it?  Read more

Bailey’s 2016 Shortlist

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Today they released the 2016 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist.

Here’s who made the shortlist for this year’s prize: Read more