Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The One Memory of Flora Banks

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin
January 2017


HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN'T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?

I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can't remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is. Then she kisses someone she shouldn't, and the next day she remembers it. It's the first time she's remembered anything since she was ten.  But the boy is gone. She thinks he's moved to the Arctic. Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?

This is Emily Barr's first novel for children, and after finishing it in less than 24 hours I think I can safely say that it won't be her last.  Our central character is a 17 year old girl called Flora Banks who suffers from anterograde amnesia.  She has zero memory.  Everything she knows about herself is written in a journal, through notes left all over her house by herself and her family and by what she writes down on herself.  She lives with her mother and father in Cornwall and her best friend is called Paige.  One night she goes to a party and ends up on the beach kissing a boy called Drake (who is actually Paige's boyfriend but that's another part of the story).  The next day Flora wakes up and can actually remember kissing Drake - this is her first actual memory since she fell ill at the age of 10.

And so the book continues.... Flora is delighted at both remembering, and kissing Drake.  Paige is furious with her. Drake is off to the Arctic to study so Flora will see him no more.  At the same time as all of this is happening, Flora's brother Jacob, who we learn lives in Paris, is taken seriously ill and her parents have no option but to fly out to be with him.  They decide that due to Flora's condition the best thing that they can do is to leave her behind in Cornwall with Paige to look after her.  What they don't know, as they board their plane, is that Flora and Paige are no longer talking to each other, due to 'the kiss' and that Flora is seemingly on her own for the first time in seven years.

What continues is how Flora copes with this situation.  I don't want to give the plot away so won't reveal much more but suffice to say it involves heartbreak, travel and a breakthrough though not necessarily in that order.  Yes there have been some reviews that say that parts of this book are repetitive but I think that's the point - Flora has memory loss so when she remembers something she keeps referring to it again and again.  It didn't bother me one bit. 

If you like YA books, or have read any other of Emily Barr's books then I can't see why you wouldn't want to read this.  I was rooting for Flora throughout, she's a great character.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

They All Fall Down

They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen
Published by Black Swan
July 2017




Hannah had a normal life – a loving husband, a good job. Until she did something shocking.

Now she’s in a psychiatric clinic. It should be a safe place. But patients keep dying.

The doctors say it’s suicide. Hannah knows they’re lying.

Can she make anyone believe her before the killer strikes again?

This is the second Tammy Cohen book I've read since Dying for Christmas and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  It's principally set in a mental institution where our main character Hannah is residing after a breakdown.  As the story begins the second of Hannah's friends dies, both seemingly suicide attempts, though Hannah is not so convinced that either of friends actually wanted to die. No one else believes her theory though; this is a mental hospital and both women were suffering from serious issues so it is thought of as unfortunate and the deaths are overlooked.  Hannah though cannot stop worrying that something isn't right.

All Fall Down is told through three perspectives, that of Hannah, from her mother Corinne and through Laura, a member of staff at the hospital.  I have to admit, I got a little confused with who everybody was at the beginning but I'll put that down to not concentrating enough in the first place.  Through each of these characters we get to see a different perspective of life at the hospital, but is there actually a killer or is it all in Hannah's head, and what exactly did she do to end up in there?

Lots of twists and turns throughout with a dramatic final chapter.  I've got another of Tammy's books to read and I'll be heading toward it with haste.  Fancy a book to grab you by the pool this summer then you can't go far wrong with this one!

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x