Expected publication: January 12th, 2017—this Thursday!!!
Synopsis (courtesy of 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.
I completely devoured this book. Read it in one sitting. There were twists and turns throughout with clues along the way that kept me turning the pages until the very end.
Emily Barr did an amazing job of finding the right balance between repeating things so we understood Flora’s anterograde amnesia, but not so much that it was tough for the reader. Flora’s lack of short-term memory was used beautifully, with each section break being the point when her short-term memory disappears and she has to begin again. There were times when Flora didn’t know what we knew, thanks to clever tricks from the author, and it was both heartbreaking and mind-blowing as a reader.
Flora’s character is strong, brave, and free-willed, and it was a joy to be in her mind. I found her ability to remember by writing everything on her arms both brilliant and fascinating. I love that she makes comments about how she must be so tough to live with. I love that she’s so vulnerable and open. She’s a child because in her mind she’s still 10, her age when she lost her memory, yet she’s smarter than a child.
I also love that each character is so well-developed, and all their motivations understandable even though they were flawed (sometimes deeply, deeply, flawed).
The setting was also so vivid. I completely fell in love with Svalbard, Norway, and felt like I experienced an entire new world with the midnight sun, small-town feel, and endless snow.
This is such a unique book, completely un-put-down-able, and a breath of fresh air to read. I highly recommend it!