Emily Barr

YALC 2017!

Today was the first day of YALC 17 and it was fantastic! Full of excellent authors, interesting talks, lovely publishers and incredible books, the day was a non-stop pleasure cruise through the world of YA and teen fiction!

One thing that I learned was that the sensible people had taken suitcases/ bags on wheels so they could carry all their books for signing without suffering personal injury! I had to whittle my choices down hugely before I left as I couldn't lift my bag, but even with only the seven I had chosen (and it was so hard to choose!), my shoulders were still sore- perhaps because I was constantly adding to their number! There were so many brilliant books to choose from! 

The programme was packed with excellent author talks, but a few highlights for me today were meeting Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen (review of Lobsters here) again as they signed their new book, 'Freshers' which I am looking forward to reading very much, meeting up the the Little Tiger crew, who let me have a copy of Alex Bell's new book (you can read our review of 'Frozen Charlotte here) and meeting Emily Barr whose book 'The One Memory of Flora Banks' I enjoyed so much. (review here)

Alexis Deacon drew me a picture of Beegu and I had a lovely chat with fellow teacher, Olivia Levez, whose books we will be reviewing soon.

It was also lovely to meet up with fellow FCBG members, Jane and Margaret, who were also enjoying a day at YALC! Everyone was in party mood and enjoying themselves!

I nearly finished reading 'One of Us is Lying' by Karen M McManus on the way home- excellent read. The perfect end to a perfect day! Let's see what tomorrow brings!

Be Brave...

I think I can honestly say that I have never read anything qute like this before. It cost me a night's sleep because, having read it cover to cover without being able to put it down, I had to keep re-reading sections.

Flora is 17, but has amnesia. Although her early memories are there, she can't remember things from day to day- or even hour to hour. Her hands hold her immediate memories as she covers them with key words and phrases to help her through. Her name and the words 'be brave' are tattooed there as permanent reminders. Her world is Penzance in Cornwall where her parents shelter her from everything.

Then, one night, she does something she shouldn't- kisses a boy she shouldn't- and to her amazement, she remembers it. She becomes obsessed with the memory and is determined to find him- even if it means following him to the end of the earth.

Flora is an open book- her raw emotions flow, childlike, across the page in her thoughts and the many notes and memory prompts she writes to herself. The reader is taken with her as she remembers, forgets and remembers again the events on the beach that lead her to take some control of her life and set off in pursuit of the boy of her dreams.

As events unfold, we learn more about Flora's condition and the complexity of her family situation. Naive and vulnerable through she is, Flora is full of an inner strength and determination which cannot be supressed. This is not a love-sick girl 'cured' by love's first kiss; there is so much more to Flora than that and the novel carries a strong feeling of the importance of being yourself and finding your own way.

Flora's story is compelling, moving and satisfying. Be brave.


The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Penguin     ISBN: 978-0141368511