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The One Memory of Flora Banks
Cover of The One Memory of Flora Banks
The One Memory of Flora Banks
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It's not a lie if you can't remember the truth. "Mesmerizing, electric, and achingly lovely, The One Memory of Flora Banks is unforgettable. One of the best YA novels I've read in a very long time."...
It's not a lie if you can't remember the truth. "Mesmerizing, electric, and achingly lovely, The One Memory of Flora Banks is unforgettable. One of the best YA novels I've read in a very long time."...
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  • It's not a lie if you can't remember the truth.

    "Mesmerizing, electric, and achingly lovely, The One Memory of Flora Banks is unforgettable. One of the best YA novels I've read in a very long time."
    —Jennifer Niven,
    New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places

    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—in Svalbard, Norway—Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

    But will following Drake be the key to unlocking Flora's memory? Or will the journey reveal that nothing is quite as it seems?

    Already a bestselling debut in the UK, this unforgettable novel is Memento meets We Were Liars and will have you racing through the pages to unravel the truth.
    Praise for The One Memory of Flora Banks:
    An EW Most Anticipated YA Novel of 2017
    ★ "[A] remarkable odyssey...an enthralling story...a deftly, compassionately written mystery." —Booklist, starred review
    ★ "Barr's tale mingles Oliver Sacks–like scientific curiosity with Arctic adventure and YA novel in a way that's equally unsettling, winsome, and terrifying." —Horn Book, starred review
    "Perfect for fans of both young adult romance and psychological thrillers, The One Memory of Flora Banks is destined to become one of your favorite beach reads of 2017. Promise." —Bustle
    "Mesmerizing, electric, and achingly lovely, The One Memory of Flora Banks is unforgettable. One of the best YA novels I've read in a very long time." —Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places
    "Ultimately, this title will leave readers with a sense of hope and faith in the human spirit....A strong choice for YA shelves." —School Library Journal
    "Flora's situation may be singular, but her desire for autonomy should speak loudly to teens in the midst of their own journeys into adulthood." —Publishers Weekly
    "An affecting portrayal of living with amnesia and discovering one's own agency." —Kirkus
    "[T]his is [Barr's] first YA novel and it is a good one. It will not be forgotten by readers." —VOYA
    "An extraordinarily moving and original novel, a story of secrecy and lie, love and loss that manages to be both heart-breaking and life-affirming...Barr's first novel for teenagers...is as brave as Flora herself." —Daily Mail
    "An icily atmospheric story...captivating...[a] pacy page-turner that packs a significant emotional punch." —The Guardian

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter Six

    "They said they were coming back," I tell the policeman, "but they didn't. And they always do what they say. It says in my book that I've called them sixty-seven times."

    The police station is a gray building with an orange tiled roof. It is boring on the outside, and inside it is boring too. The reception area is small, with a little row of three blue chairs by the window.

    The man who is sitting at the reception desk is being polite, but he doesn't think my problem is the most interesting thing that will happen to him today. He has a bald head, which is shining under the electric light. There is a piece of paper in his hand and he keeps trying to read it. I know it has nothing to do with me.

    "Sixty-seven?" he echoes. He looks up at me with a little frown. "Seriously?"

    "They always tell me what they're doing. Always."

    "Your parents are visiting your brother and have not come home when you thought they would?"

    "That's right."

    "Have you contacted your brother?"

    "I don't think so."

    "And they are fully functioning grown-ups?"

    "Yes."

    "As are you?"

    I see him looking at the words on my hand, trying to read them. He looks at my face. He stares into my eyes for a few seconds, and his manner changes. He pushes his papers away.

    "Oh. I know who you are."

    I don't know what to say to that, so I say nothing.

    "What are you?" he says. "Sixteen or so?"

    "I'm seventeen and I kissed a boy on a beach. Before that I was ten and I was going to the amusement park. I met Paige when we were four."

    I only meant to say the first two words out loud. The rest of it was supposed to be in my head. He looks as if he wants to laugh at me, and I hate that.

    "Yeah. You've been here before. You've met my colleagues. OK. I'll call someone for you. Have a seat. Do you have a friend? Neighbor? Any other family around?"

    "Paige is my friend."

    "Let's have Paige's number then. I'll get her to come and pick you up. Maybe you can stay at her place."

    I look at my phone, searching for Paige's name and number. Paige will pick me up and take care of me. But I know as I say the words in my head that they are not right.

    There are texts on my phone, but they are all from me. All of them say things like: "Hello Paige. Are you going to be back soon?" She has not replied. I hope she is OK. I scroll up and up until I find her last text to me. It is from a few days ago, and it says: "Flora. This is the last time I'm going to answer. I am not your friend anymore, not since you kissed my boyfriend. WE ARE NOT FRIENDS. Leave me alone."

    I stare at the words. I did kiss her boyfriend. That happened: I can remember it. I kissed a boy on the beach. He was Drake. I love him. That means Paige and I are not friends.

    I look up. I am in the police station because my parents haven't come home, and there is a man with a shiny head and a pen and a yellow Post-it note in front of him. He is waiting for me to tell him Paige's phone number so he can ask her to come and get me.

    I stand up.

    "It's OK, actually," I tell him, and I walk to the door, and then through it, and then I run down the road, all the way home. I am on my own. It is suddenly exciting. I skip down the road. I dance. I can do anything.

    ***

    I scrawl the words on my arm. Contact Jacob. Maybe Jacob might help me.

    If the policeman called Paige she might try to help me in spite of everything. I could go and bang on her door and she would probably let me in. Yet I cannot do that because I would not be able to tell her about my...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 6, 2017
    Flora Banks, 17, has anterograde amnesia, which has left her unable to make new memories. Flora remembers her life around and before age 10, but she must use messages written on her skin, her phone, and in a diarylike notebook to remind her of who she is and to fill in the details of recent history. Everything changes when Flora retains her memory of a kiss on the beach with Drake, her best friend Paige’s boyfriend who is leaving to study in the Arctic. In her first book for teens, British author Barr creates a realistic portrayal of Flora’s condition through her repetitive and confused first-person narration (“There was a party. Drake is leaving. Paige is sad. I am seventeen. I need to be brave”). Flora fears she will never be “normal,” but Barr carefully seeds her story with hope while challenging perceptions of normalcy. Flora’s situation may be singular, but her desire for autonomy should speak loudly to teens in the midst of their own journeys into adulthood. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kate Cooper, Curtis Brown.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2017
    A white British girl with anterograde amnesia travels to the Arctic to chase after a boy whose kiss has stayed in her memory when nothing else has.Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks cannot remember anything that happened before she was 10 years old, when doctors removed a tumor from her brain. Her memory resets itself every few hours, and ever present written reminders help orient her to her reality. Until one evening, when her best friend's boyfriend, Drake (also white), kisses her, and she finds that she can remember every detail of their brief time together. The next day Drake leaves to study abroad in Norway, leaving Flora clinging to her singular new memory and the desperate hope that Drake holds the key to her recovery. When her parents inadvertently leave her home alone, she takes matters into her own hands: she travels to Norway to look for Drake. Despite difficulties and delusions, she meets charming strangers who help her along the way and ends up discovering hidden parts of herself amid the icy, beautiful Arctic. Slowly, memories of her past begin to filter through and puzzle pieces fall into place, revealing that there is more to Flora's story than she realizes. Flora's voice is frank and childlike, yet her verve and determination help to drive forward a necessarily cyclical plot. An affecting portrayal of living with amnesia and discovering one's own agency. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2017

    Gr 8 Up-Flora Banks, 17, who lives in Penzanze, England, has only one memory: kissing her best friend's boyfriend, Drake Andreassen, on the beach the night before he leaves for Svalbard, Norway. Flora has anterograde amnesia. Her memory is spotty at best and lasts from one to three hours until it resets. Because of this, Flora writes everything down on her arm, which is tattooed with her mantra, "Be Brave." But why does she remember this kiss? Flora's parents leave in a hurry to help her dying brother, who lives in France with his partner. Flora's best friend, Paige, is supposed to stay with her during this time, but Paige refuses to help her because of the kiss. After receiving adoring emails from Drake, Flora is off to Norway on her own to find him, only to discover the truth about not only Drake but also herself. Flora must verbally repeat what she believes to be true over and over. While this detail may make the book sound repetitive, it truly allows teens to understand the protagonist's condition. The story is fast-paced, and even reluctant readers will be engaged by Flora and her family, who are in dire need of an intervention. Ultimately, this title will leave readers with a sense of hope and faith in the human spirit. VERDICT True fans will await the possibility of a sequel. A strong choice for YA shelves.-Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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