Challenge criteria: A book with a title that’s a character’s name.
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.
What I liked:
I was a mere 20 pages in when I knew this was going to be something special.
I loved Flora’s brother Jacob. Despite his being away from Flora, and suffering from his own illness, he was always there for Flora. He was the big brother she really needed, and the big brother I wish I had. Flora’s Dad was another redeeming character.
I loved the repetition in this book. It may have been a little much, but it really helped Flora to come to the end of her journey and showed what living with amnesia is like.
I was afraid that Drake would turn this book into a “boy meets girl/boy saves girl” narrative, but it was much better than that.
What I didn’t like:
I didn’t like Paige. I thought if she had any inkling as to what Drake was up to, she wouldn’t have been as harsh on Flora.
I also didn’t like Flora’s manipulative mother very much, and I couldn’t condone her actions towards Flora. I could not understand why Flora wasn’t brought to France as well, and also lot of Flora’s mother’s actions really grated with me. Among many things, who gives an 18 year old a teddy bear on their birthday?
Out of five:
Four. A fantastic journey of self-discovery, an intriguing look at life with amnesia, and a reminder that maybe your parents aren’t always right.