HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO TO TRUST WHEN YOU CAN’T EVEN TRUST YOURSELF?
I look at my hands. One of them says FLORA BE BRAVE.
Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day: the joke her friend made, the instructions her parents gave her, how old she is.
Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t, and the next day she remembers it. It’s the first time she’s remembered anything since she was ten.
But the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic.
Will following him be the key to unlocking her memory? Who can she trust?
What I thought:
I have read several Emily Barr books and absolutely loved them so I was looking forward to reading this. I had a few problems with this one though, and the first one only stems from the fact that this is a YA book (which I have no issue with at all, I have read plenty and loved them) but this felt very young YA to me and I never really fully invested in the book or characters despite being able to recognise what a remarkable young girl Flora Banks was. My second problem was knowing that in her head, Flora was only 10, and yet she kisses a boy passionately and can’t stop thinking about him. I have 2 nieces aged 10 and they are still little girls so it made me quite uncomfortable to read this.
That said, the book itself is really going to appeal and engage and enchant. Flora Banks is a feisty, adventurous girl despite the best efforts of her family to keep her wrapped up in cotton wool. To travel half way across the world on her own, with instructions to herself written on her arm as she forgets her life every couple of hours, is remarkably brave and I admired her spirit and grit to not let herself be dictated by her condition.
There is an element of mystery to this book, as we only ever know what Flora knows so we have to fit the pieces together alongside her which is a great device for keeping the momentum going.
While I completely recognise that this is going to be a firm favourite with some, it left me slightly indifferent.