The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin
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.
Miss Chapters x