I tend to rate the books I read right after I finish them, the memories are vivid, my heart is pounding and I probably just wiped the remaining tears from my cheeks – there is no better moment to decide how much I loved the book.
However, from time to time, after a couple of days, weeks or even months, I go back and change the rating after reflecting on it for a while.
The same happened to this book, I gave it full 5 stars after reading it in one sitting. After few days of constantly thinking: “Was it really that flawless?” I had to change it to 4 stars, and share my thoughts with all of you!
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:
1 – The tiny bits of mystery here and there! You know me, I couldn’t have ignored them! It’s always so exciting trying to figure out what actually is going on, what the author is not telling us, and what other clues I might have missed throughout the story.
2 – What would you do if you couldn’t remember what you did yesterday? Or the past few week? Or the past few years? You wake up and remember yourself as you were ten years ago. What would you do?
Flora is staying brave! Flora is vivid, life-loving and shy, but also determined person. Even though she can’t always trust her memory, she will do anything to get where she wants to be. I loved the “Flora, stay brave” tattoo, maybe it’s even something all of us should have to remind ourselves to take all the chances the life throws in our way?
3 – There were a few characters that I despised from the very beginning. And that is a good thing for the book and writing overall, because, as I said many many times, when the writing and characters don’t make me feel anything, what’s the point of reading?
4 – A lot of people commented on repetitiveness in the story. And that is true. Flora loses all of her short-term memories every few hours, therefore we go through a vicious circle of reading the same bits of information over and over again. But I actually enjoyed it! It was a little bit annoying, but then it got to the point where I just got used to it. Besides, it was an incredible way of putting us into the Flora’s head and understand what she went through every single day of her life.
WHAT I DISLIKED:
1 – Might be a surprise for some of you, but I didn’t like Flora that much. Not her personality, but more how everything she did was categorized as “brave and incredible”, when some things were just plain crazy and obsessive. I think this is the only remark I have to make.
It was definitely a very fast-paced quick read that took me literally one evening! Thank you NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group | Philomel Books for the ARC of this book!
If you are looking for a new captivating contemporary novel, definitely give this one a try!
⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5
Let me know in the comments down below if this is one of your anticipated releases this month and what interests you the most about this book!