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.
Right from the very beginning I knew this book was going to be completely unlike any other book I have ever read, the story is told from Flora's POV and since she is unable to remember anything for longer than a few hours she often finds herself confused and disorientated when she forgets, and this is how her story unfolds. At first I thought it may be quite jarring, but I was wrong. It gave me a greater understanding of Flora, of what her every day life is like. She is an unreliable narrator since she often forgets what she is doing or has just done, but that is what makes her story all the more interesting.
Just a few pages in and I began to feel really sorry for Flora, she was wandering around a party, not knowing why she was there. I was both happy for her and angry at Drake for kissing her. Flora isn't your average seventeen year old, she needs to be looked after... but she also has the right to be kissed by handsome boys. I was so happy when she remembers her kiss, first kisses are supposed to be remembered. It wasn't long before I realised Flora doesn't need me to feel sorry for her. Flora is brave, so much more than many of us. She knows she has problems with remembering, but after she remembers her kiss with Drake she is convinced that he may just be the cure for her memory loss and she sets out on an adventure to find him, and she doesn't let her memory problems stop her.
I so hate leaving spoilers and I am completely unable to talk about the ending of this book properly without spoilers so I will say only this.... Flora's story doesn't end the way I thought it might, although I'm not entirely sure how I saw it ending, I spent the last pages in tears as we discover the bits and pieces that Flora doesn't know, so much so that when I was finished I needed a hug from my husband. But please don't take that to mean that Flora needs your pity, Flora is brave. And Flora wont let her problems with memory hold her back.