The (Not Good) YA Version of Finding Dory: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Posted June 6, 2017 by Nereyda/ 30 Comments

The (Not Good) YA Version of Finding Dory: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily BarrThe One Memory of Flora Banks
by Emily Barr
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Published by Philomel Books
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Format: Audiobook
Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
Pages: 304
Buy on Audible
one-star
Source: Audiobook Received for Review

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.

Audiobook Received for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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Man oh man, I don’t even know where to start with this book. I love stories that deal with memory loss so this is what initially caught my eye for this book. A girl who suffers from short-term memory and doesn’t remember anything more than a few hours was different from my usual memory loss stories. Flora Banks had a brain tumor at 10 years old and when the doctors successfully removed it, some part of her brain was affected and she forgets everything after a few hours. She remembers everything from before she was 10 years old, but anything after that she has to be constantly reminded every day. She knows who her parents and best friend, Paige, are because those are memories from before the tumor, but everything else she has to read this book every morning that tells her what happened to her and other basic details. She also writes things down from the day before on her hands and arms to help her remember the next day. Although Flora is 17 years old, technically she has the mental age of a 10-year-old. She  has to keep reminding herself that she is 17 and not 10 years old and the way she talks (and acts) is like a child. You know how in Finding Dory you can’t help but feel a little bit frustrated with Dory because she keeps forgetting things and she will repeat certain things over and over but you can’t help but love her anyway because the character ad story are so good? Yeah, that’s not the case with Flora. Because Flora forgets everything, she repeats certain things over and over which gets very annoying, very quickly. Every time I heard her say ‘I kissed Drake on the beach’ it made me want to delete the book from my phone.

After a party, Flora wanders to the beach and sees her best friend’s boyfriend, Drake. They start talking and one thing leads to another and they end up kissing.  Drake even asks Flora if he wants to spend the night with him and Flora’s first thought is of her mommy and how mad she would be if she didn’t come home for the night. Let that sink in for a bit, this guy kisses his girlfriend’s best friend who he knows will most likely not remember anything the next day but who still has a child-like mental age where her first thought is her mother when a boy asks her to spend the night with him. Luckily, Drake backs off at this point. Flora decides to write this memory of kissing Drake on her hand because she doesn’t want to forget it. The next day, she is shocked to find out that she remember every detail of that kiss, her first true memory since the operation. Unfortunately, Paige sees this on her hand and is furious at Flora for what she did. Paige had promised Flora’s parents that she would stay with Flora and take care for her while they visited another country to stay with Flora’s brother who is dying, but since she’s mad at Flora she won’t do it anymore. Instead of telling her parents that Paige won’t be staying with her, she keeps that from them and they leave her alone. I found it very shitty of a supposed best friend to do this to someone like Flora who isn’t all that capable of taking care of herself and I fund it unbelievable of Flora’s parents to not even bother to check in with Paige to see how their daughter was doing.  Unfortunately the rest of the book only goes downhill from here…

Flora gets in touch with Drake over email and they start exchanging some pretty racy emails where Drake tells her in detail what he’d like to do with her and even asks for naked pictures of Flora. Let me remind you that although Flora is technically 17, SHE HAS THE MIND OF A CHILD! I was so grossed out by this and annoyed that this would even make it into the book. Flora decides that since this is the first real memory she has after the tumor that she must go to the freaking north pole to find Drake so they can be together. Never mind that her brother is dying, which she knows, she decides to visit some guy in another country instead of her brother. Because she’s Flora, one of those magical MC’s, everyone in the new town loves her and they help her find Drake. I doubt someone who can’t remember anything more than a few hours would be able to survive in a new strange on their own and even less that she would befriend all the locals. It takes her a while to find Drake and an even longer time for her parents to even find out that she isn’t at home.

At this point, I was already super annoyed with this book, but when I found out that View Spoiler » I’ve read a lot of great books, a lot of okay and mediocre books and unfortunately I’ve read some not so great ones too. But never before has a book made me so angry (other than November 9, ugh) before. I had to keep listening to see if there was any way to save this book. What made me even more mad was the fact that not only was the fact that Drake was taking advantage of an ill girl never addressed, it didn’t seem to be a problem with most other readers. I read so many reviews for this book and some people loved it and others hated it but other than 2 people, nobody else had a problem with it. Clearly this book wasn’t for me and although I think others would enjoy a book even if I didn’t, I just can’t even recommend this one to anyone…

Audiobook Sample:

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Nereyda

Nereyda

Nereyda is a 30 year-old mother of two girls with addiction to Friends, fashion, books, Pinterest, Netflix, the color black and a little bit of everything else.

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  • kindlemom1

    I actually have a friend who every three to five days her brain resets (also do to a tumor that was removed) and she goes back to almost 10 years ago (when the tumor was removed). It is pretty fascinating. She has to keep a journal about everything and she reads it every morning (regardless if she has reset or not). Anyways because of her I’ve always been drawn to these type of stories as well. So sorry this one didn’t work out for you.

    • Wow that’s crazy! It’s one of those things you hear about but don’t know anyone who really has it.

  • Abigail Huggan

    Omg!! So ive thought about reading this book but after reading this review I’ll be giving it a miss. I thought it might have been something more complex than this and more interesting. Then it gets worse with the spoiler which has to be the most ridiculous explanation ever and is so far fetched.

    Abbie • overpeachchic.com

    • The whole thing with the parents was never even really explained, it was just added for shock value sadly.

  • I just started this one. I can see a problem with repetition already. I’ll see how far I can go.

    • How many times have you read ‘I kissed Drake on the beach?’

  • I’ve actually read lots of positive reviews that got me wanting to read this one but now? *shudders* I wouldn’t like Drake at all. And how fucked up are her parents?!! And what a shitty best friend. Yeah, this so isn’t for me.
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

  • I love the comparison in your title! Gave me a good laugh haha. I’ll be passing on this one. Thanks for the review 😀

    • At least Dory was cute and funny, even when she got a little annoying…Flora was not.

  • Lmao “the not good version of Finding Dory.” I haven’t even read the book and I’m uncomfortable. People being taken advantage of will make me uncomfortable just by itself but the thing with her parents… UGH that’s messed up.
    I wasn’t planning on picking this one up but now I’m really not planning on picking this one up xD
    Fabulous review <3

    • She was taken advantage by so many people and I’m not sure why more reviews aren’t addressing it…

  • Oh YIKES. I have to say, I am pretty grossed out by the thought of someone with a 10 year old’s mental faculties in a relationship at all, let alone all the sexual stuff. And I almost want to read it just to see if it makes me as uncomfortable? Is that weird? Probably, but then I can tell you if I agree 😉 Drake is giving me the creeps though, in theory. Also, I JUST read a book about memory loss (The Secret History of Us) which has some similar sounding themes, but not creepy? So maybe that one would be a better fit haha. Great review, sorry this was such a mess!

  • I’m definitely staying away from this book. I mean, your review makes me don’t want to read this book, but reading the spoiler really solidified that decision. It’s so wrong on so many levels: kissing with bestfriend’s boyfriend? said bestfriend leaving the girl alone? the girl who can’t remember anything left to another country without any difficulty? the spoilers? it’s so messed up. I was pretty interested because some amazing review but after this… nope.

    • I cant imagine traveling to an unknown country alone, much less with a memory loss issue.

  • Sarah

    I usually am wary of books that gain a lot of sponsorships on BookTube, especially when it doesn’t seem like people love the book. I’ll definitely be steering clear of this one. That spoiler section…..YIKES! i can’t get on board with this kind of story telling. Great review!

    Sassy @Sassy Sarah Reads

    • Yeah, I don’t trust 99% of people that rave about the same few books on youtube or instagram, I don’t care how many followers they have I need real reviews and thoughts.

  • Yikes…My brain is still trying to process all of that. I’m thoroughly grossed out for the day…lol! What a creeper. Yeah, I will definitely be skipping this one. It doesn’t sound like it’s one for me at all. Great honest review!

  • Super sad to hear this one didn’t work out for you – it sounds terrible. I had this on my own wishlist but am going to pass on it now. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Sorry, but hopefully you find another good memory loss book to read instead 🙂

  • Yeah, this doesn’t like sound like something I’d want to read so thanks for the heads up. That would drive me crazy from Drake to Paige to Flora running off to find Drake and not her brother. Yikes. What a mess. Great review though, Nereyda!

    • She never even felt bad for not seeing her brother before he died…

  • So basically I should just watch Finding Dory again instead of read this train wreck. This book sounds like an absolute nightmare. The characters would drive me absolutely ballistic and since I won’t be reading the book I read the spoilers and that was the final nail in the coffin.

  • Sorry you didn’t like it Nereyda, from your review, it doesn’t sound like it’s a book for me either… Sound weird and irresponsible 🙁

    • It was one of those books that just adds shock value without worries about being realistic.

  • Ugh I wanted to review this book because like you, I love reading about memory problems and also short term memory in general, but this just doesn’t sound good at all. And I guess I kind of knew that this wouldn’t turn out great, but this is worse than I imagined??? Like some of these things really grossed me out, and now I’m definitely just nope. Thanks for the warning Nereyda!

    • I don’t see how more people are talking about the problems in this book honestly…