Pages: 303 pages
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Source: ARC from publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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.
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Hey everyone! Today I have a special guest joining me today on my Flora Banks tour stop. It's the one and only Emily Barr, author of The One Memory of Flora Banks. I'm sure you've all seen this book floating around the blogosphere, but if it still hasn't piqued your interest then I'm hoping this post will. In books, I am captivated with the idea of memory loss. A lot of the books I have read that include characters that lose their memories have been thrillers or mystery books. I've never seen a contemporary one. I took this tour opportunity to ask the author Emily Barr about the research that was required to write about a character with anterograde amnesia and how she was able to capture this essence in a young adult book. Here is her answer.
Research About Amnesia
by Emily Barr
It sounds so easy to write a book about amnesia. In fact I’d wanted to write one for ages but had held back because the ‘knock on the head/ can’t remember anything’ trope felt so clichéd and I didn’t know anyone in real life who’d had anything remotely like that happen to them. It felt as if fiction-amnesia was a whole different thing from real-amnesia.
I did, however, have experience of older people with dementia, losing their recent memories while remembering things from long ago. I remember, as a young child, visiting my grandfather who had Parkinson’s with the associated memory loss. It was incredibly distressing. I also knew people with younger family members who had experienced different kinds of memory loss and I could see that brains were complex, incredible things.
When I started writing The One Memory of Flora Banks I knew I had to do everything I could to get it right. I read books by Oliver Sacks (who is an absolute hero of mine: The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat is a brilliant starting point for anyone writing about anything brain-related). I read anything I could find about anterograde amnesia. I got in touch with an old university friend who works in this field, and he sent me all kinds of reading material, and looked over my plans for Flora to tell me what was plausible and what wasn’t.
I went through the book again and again, doing everything I could to make it logical. Because Flora can remember things from before she was ten she has the basics about how things work: I have a ten year old of my own and she certainly know about charging phones and laptops and those kinds of daily-life things. However, I kept catching myself letting Flora remember things she shouldn’t have remembered. In fact, I’ve never written so many drafts of anything.
I am left with the overwhelming feeling that the human brain is a remarkable thing, that memory is not a static objective thing, but a weaving together of impressions of sights and smells and sounds and tastes, and the way things make us feel. We can forget things, and we can remember them, and we can remember them wrong. A tiny change in those mechanisms can make an enormous difference to a person’s life, and that is, in the end, going to happen to a lot of us.
Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 1, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 22, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about May 24, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
Emily Barr (www.emilybarr.com) began her career as a journalist at the Guardian before realizing that she was drawn more toward books. After taking a year to go backpacking for a column assignment, she returned home with the idea for her first book, the New York Times bestseller Backpack, and never looked back. She has since written 11 additional books for adults. The One Memory of Flora Banks is her young adult debut. Emily lives in Cornwall with her partner and their children. You can follow her on Twitter @emily_barr.