Sometimes you pick up a book and just know that you are going to love it. Flora Banks is seventeen. She lives in a Cornish seaside town and her best friend is Paige – who she has known since she started school. Flora has memory issues, anterograde amnesia. Not just forgetting what she wanted to say or why she went upstairs, Flora can remember nothing after she was ten years old. She carries a notebook that explains that she had a brain tumour removed and after that she could create no new memories – long or short term. Everything that she needs to know is in her notebook, her address, her parents, her friends. A small tattoo on her hand reminds her “Flora, Be Brave”.
As the book opens Flora is at a party with Paige. Paige’s boyfriend is leaving to do a course in Svalbard, up in the Arctic Circle. Flora is dressed in a white party dress and yellow shoes and feels very childish compared to all the other jean-clad teens at the party. When she kisses someone that she shouldn’t – Drake, Paige’s boyfriend – it becomes the one new memory that has been stored since she was ten.
Feeling that Drake has the ability to cure her she contemplates following him to the land of the midnight sun all on her own. Flora needs no reminder to be brave. She is the strongest, funniest female lead in a YA novel for quite some time. Be prepared to laugh and to cry. Flora Banks will stay with you for quite some time.
Supplied by Net Galley and Penguin in exchange for an honest review.
UK Publication Date: Jan 12 2017. 320 Pages.