The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

* this book was reviewed for LoveReading and will be featured on their site *

Hello all! As Christmas is approaching and we have entered the holidays I have had a lot more time to read, and The One Memory of Flora Banks is the one novel to read on those cold, icy days. It follows the tale of Flora, a seventeen year old girl suffering from amnesia – this means that she is unable to make new memories and can only access the ones before she was ten. She feels like she is a girl living in a much older, woman’s body, and it’s not until she kisses her best friend’s boyfriend that she wants to find out who she really is and what she has been missing all this time.

I LOVED this book so much, I feel like it will go off with a bang in January and come next year, everyone will be talking about Flora. I love reading about places and people through Flora’s eyes and the fact that the protagonist is going on an adventure to find themself. The plot was enthralling and nerve-wracking as we sense that Flora is in grave danger (most of the time) but can’t do anything to help herself. Captivating and unexpected, I’ve never read anything quite like this book.

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Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster

If you would like to read the post I did before, in 2012, of the same book, click here.

‘I was twelve years old the first time I walked on water.’

Mr Vertigo follows the life of a boy named Walt, and the remarkable things he does in his lifetime. The book starts off when Walt is ten years old, a nobody hanging around the streets of Saint Louis. A strange man, who we find out is called Master Yehudi, takes him away. After years of training, Walt is taught how to fly.

I absolutely ADORE this book- it is one of my favourite books I have ever read. It is classified as an adults book, but I believe boys and girls over about twelve can read it too. The idea of flying being possible is irresistible, I can’t believe anyone other than Auster came up with this! I really enjoyed reading about Walt, and all of the others characters as well, especially Mrs Witherspoon.

The reason why I love this book so much, is because it teaches us so many things about life, and us as humans. Also, the novel is written in a realistic way, and by doing this Auster is telling us that anything, even flying, is possible. I gave it a five star three years ago, and I’m giving it a five star again- because it’s one of those books that stays with you years afterwards.

ps. The next review will likely be of a book called Underwater. Just to let you know!

Not if I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Not if I See You First is an extraordinary novel with messages that stayed with me long after I put it down. The story is about Parker Grant, who has been blind for many years. Many people think she is stupid, but the people who know her best, know that she is smarter than everyone. Parker thinks that she has her life in shape, but when her school and another’s merge together to form one, she meets people who cause the terrible events that happened in the past to unravel and ruin everything.

Not only is this book gripping, it also tells some very important messages. The one that has stayed with me, is that: seeing is not believing. Lindstrom shows the reader this through the main character, Parker. Parker was amazing, I really enjoyed reading about her and her friends also.

The age rating for this book would be 12 and older, although I feel like older teenagers would relate to it more. It was quite an easy read, but it was one of those books that you have to read over and over to find every message and every meaning.

Overall, it was such a brilliant and well told book, that I’m going to give it a five star. Definitely put it on your reading pile.

I reviewed this book for lovereading4kids.co.uk

 

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Hi guys!

So I was at Foyles the other day, and I picked up this book because I thought it looked intriguing. I’m so happy I did because it’s such a beautiful book! You learn about mental illnesses and how hard it is to cope with them, and also feminism, two things I think are very important after reading this book. I loved the characters Evie, Amber and Lottie- they stayed with me long after I put the book down. Honest, gripping and insightful, I rate Am I Normal Yet a five star.  Also it’s very easy to read, it’s not for the younger readers- a more YA focused book.

Holly Bourne’s twitter

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

‘Park noticed the new girl at about the same time everybody else did. She was standing at the front of the bus, next to the first available seat.’

Eleanor and Park; two names everybody thought wouldn’t go together. Eleanor is the new girl; a girl very different from other girls. With her red hair and mismatched clothes, she was an easy target for Tina and her boyfriend Steve. Park just wants to be invisible; invisible to his parents, his brother, his classmates, the world. Headphones on, head down, he wants nothing to do with Eleanor. But will they be able to ignore their gut feelings forever?

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages, so when I saw it in my library, I was thrilled. Let me say this; it did not disappoint. A very realistic love story, the book captures exactly what school relationships are, and exactly what they aren’t. The situations that Eleanor and Park find themselves in are very relatable, and I found myself willing them to do what’s right. They are very likeable characters, also very complex, which I liked because often people don’t just have one feature or personality that stands out. Because it’s told from both points of view, it’s interesting to see how they react and what each other’s feeling’s are. The story ends abruptly, which was frustrating but satisfying at the same time. Usually in books the author’s try to wrap it up by the end, but Rainbow Rowell decided to leave it open: open, I guess, for us to choose what happens next.

I would recommend this strongly, to everyone aged above 13. The publisher is Orion, and I give it a five star. I loved this book!

All My Secrets by Sophie McKensie

‘A riddle wrapped in a coincidence, bound tightly by a lie. And covered up with a massive secret…’

When Evie Brown inherits £10 million pounds from a mystery person, she is gob smacked. Who would give her this much money and why? But when she is told that her whole childhood and the people closest to her was a lie, she is transported to the eerie Lightsea Island by her parents and her Uncle Gavin. Lightsea Island was meant to be a place for teenagers to take their minds off their problems at home. But during the meditation lessons, while she is cleaning the kitchens, she can’t help feeling suspicious. What is that flash of red and black that she keeps on seeing in the window? Is someone watching her? Could it be the person who gave her the large amount of money? Should Evie listen to her gut feeling, or what people keep on saying: It’s just the trick of the lights…

I really liked this book! I liked all of the characters, especially Josh and Pepper (great name, by the way!), and how they worked together to get what they wanted. Personally, I think they all acted a bit younger than their actual age, so I think they should’ve been fourteen instead of sixteen. Despite this, I got quite attached to a few of the characters, which made me even more gripped as I wanted to see how they would turn out. There are a lot of twists and it’s very fast paced (I finished it in a day!). I would recommend it to girls and boys who like a bit of romance and adventure, around 12-15 years old. The publisher is Simon and Schuster, and I would rate this book a four star.

To sum up in three words, this book is: captivating, unique, unpredictable. A must read.

All My Secrets will be published in July, 2015.

Breaking Butterflies by M Angelais

‘We, under the old sheet of the fort, two eggs out of millions.
We were there.’

When I was browsing Google to see what other people said about this book, I was shocked. The reviews rated the story either one star or five stars. Some people said it was terrible, some said it was amazing. But every single review said something along the lines of, ‘There are no words.’ And I agree completely.

This book is fantastic. The first time I read it was over two years ago, and since then I have read it maybe fifty times. The story is about two girls, Leigh and Sarah, who made a plan when they’re seven years old. The plan shaped their entire lives; careers, houses, children. Sphinx and Cadence. Two eggs out of millions. Sphinx and Cadence grew up to be perfectly ordinary children- it was only at five when something seemed wrong. Cadence always seemed to shine, eyes glowing, dazzling smiles. But when he killed a butterfly on purpose, Sphinx was horrified. What normal person would do that, even as a toddler?

This story is like no other. It may be quite small but it’s worth the read, because you’ll never forget it. Many people dislike it as you ‘can’t relate to any of the characters’, but I think you can. There are few characters that are named, but they all have an important role. It also teaches you things you need for life. I would love to see this turned into a film!

Anyone, from 10 to 110, whatever gender, would adore this book, because it is both interesting and easy to read. The great thing about Breaking Butterflies, is that it divides people’s opinions. It is a book that needs to be discussed about, and I think, that’s what great books are all about. Definitely a five star. The publisher is Chicken House. I recommend that you read this book.

Minus Me by Ingelin Rossland

‘Hesitantly she lifts one foot. Then she jumps, even though her heart is stuttering so unevenly. Then suddenly her body pops to the surface like a cork, and the silence is filled with loud screams’

Linda is only twelve. She is young, and is surrounded by people who admire her. But when she suffers from a rare heart condition and does a risky dive in her diving competition, she can only wait for a donor to save her life. Except she doesn’t want to wait, she wants to live. She wants to do things any teenager does. She wants to have a first kiss, go to a rock concert, travel on her own. But will the fact that she’s dying hold her back? Will she push herself too far? All will be revealed in Rossland’s amazing new book, Minus Me.

For one, the cover is really eye-catching and colourful, drawing the attention in from the reader. The title, Minus Me, is powerful and makes you want to know more about what’s inside. My favourite character is Linda, the protagonist, and Zac, who helps her along the way. It teaches you that you should be able to love life and do what you want, but know that your choice can affect other, especially people who care about you. My favourite scene was when Linda performed a dive and her heart stopped in the water. I recommend this to boys and girls of the age of 11-14, because it is quite easy to understand and the characters are 12-13. I give it a four star and the publisher is Oneworld Publications.

 

If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn

‘Please. Do not tell anyone. If the police finds out, they will make trouble for us.’

Two teenagers, Dan and Aliya, are brought together in a dangerous game of trusting the right people. This story really touched my heart as it shows that people can change things, no matter what age. It shows that hope can bring you through anything, whatever situation you are in, and if you believe something is right, go forth and put your point across. My favourite character was Dan, because half of the time he didn’t know what to do and I felt sorry for him. The plot is fast paced and the number of scenes that left me speechless are endless. The story is truly awe-inspiring, and I’m sure others would agree. It was nice to follow Dan and Aliya’s friendship that developed throughout the book. The age range is 12+ and it is for boys and girls, as there is a female narrator and a male narrator too! I give this book a four star and the publisher is Chicken House. I’m reviewing this for lovereading4kids.

My Smoky Bacon Crisp Obsession by J. A. Buckle

‘Things I need to do this year:

1. Move on, finally, from that one-second kiss.
2. Get a band together!
3. Get a tattoo. Absolutely. It will definitely happen this year.
4. Get a C in atleast one of my A-Levels. Ugh.
5. Stop making lame lists!!!!’

An new year, a new start, a fabulously shiny new leather notebook: Josh Walker is back, and he’s ready for whatever faces him. He has a girlfriend and three friends who will support him all the way (no matter how crazy they are). Except, by the end of the first month of sixth form, Josh is involved in a fight, nearly faints when dissecting a heart, and is banned from Scouts. His life is ‘ruined’. But will he be able to complete his to-do list by the end of the school year? Will he be able to balance his problems with his A-Levels? And what secrets are his friends and family hiding from him this time?

I cannot begin to put my love for this book into words. It is a great read which is fast paced and swallows you whole. The characters are all so relatable, especially Davey and Josh, my two favourite. Sometimes I find sequels are not as good as the first book, but I think this was as good as Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets, if not more! As well as being hilarious, the novel teaches you lifelong rules that school doesn’t: everyone has things they don’t want other people to know, as Josh finds out later on in the book. It also teaches you to be kind and selfless. I love the ending too, but I won’t give it away!

In conclusion, this is more than a diary. This is more than a ‘book’. A five star.

Boys and girls will find My Smoky Bacon Crisp Obsession amusing, from the age of around 12 to 17. I’m reviewing this for the publisher, Curious Fox.