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.

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

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.

Conversion by Katherine Howe

‘St Joan’s Academy, an elite private school… has been shaken by a bizarre illness that has doctor scratching their heads… What’s causing it? And are your children at risk?’

This book follows the story of Colleen Rowley, a seventeen year old attending high school at St Joan’s High. Final’s are coming up, and people are trying to get into universities. Every last minute counts towards their future. Teachers are expecting them to handle the pressure, but when they can’t everything starts to spiral out of control…

It started with lovely Clara Rutherford, admired by everyone. When she starts twitching uncontrollably in class out of the blue, many have no idea what to do. Doctors are at a loss. When more start experiencing strange coughing fits, hair loss and body vibrations, diagnosis goes out of the wall. Parents are angry. The media is buzzing. School nurses are puzzled. What is the cause for this ‘mystery disease’? Is the school telling the truth? And are the weird texts that Colleen has been receiving got to do with anything?

I really like this intriguing book and how it is written. It took me a while to finish, longer than a normal book takes, so I’d recommend this as a long read, perhaps on a plane journey. My favourite character is Emma, because there is a lot more to her then you think, and Ms Slater, Colleen’s history teacher. Girls would like to read this book most, from around 13 to 17, but adults may like it too because I thought the writing was interesting and sophisticated. I would give it a four star, and the publisher is Rock the Boat, and imprint of Oneworld Publications.

The Beneath by S. C. Ransom

Lily lives with her Nan. She has no friends. Her family is thousands of miles away. All she wants is for someone to be there for her. But when Lily saves Aria from getting crushed by a train, she didn’t realise what she’s getting into. Little did she know that Aria is part of something out of this world, and by talking to her she is risking her life. Little did she know that a whole community lives right under her nose. Little did she know that the community needs her help before everything spirals out of control.

This fantastic story hooked me in on the first page- I couldn’t stop reading until I finished it a day later! The story line is very original and thought-provoking; I love books that make me think, and S. C. Ransom has done just that. There aren’t very many characters, but those that are there, are very likeable and realistic. I especially like Will and his dog, Foggy. I also liked the main character, Lily; her heroic personality keeps the book going. The book is extremely fast paced, although the pace did get a little slow around the end. One of my favourite scenes is when Aria and Lily are being chased by the mysterious Crop- sometimes I skip words in other books but in this scene I was gripped and read every single word.

Boys and girls of an age range of 12-15 would like this great book, and the publisher is Nosy Crow. I give this book a five stars, and I reviewed this book for lovereading4kids

The Piper by Danny Weston

‘Please,’ she whispers. But he simply lifts a long white pipe to his lips and begins to play again, that same, mournful tune. Then a pair of cold wet hands clamp tightly around her ankled. They pull back hard and she has time for one, short scream.

 It is Granddad Peter’s eighty eighth birthday and Helen is the only one there at the care home. Everything looks dreary- like it always does. Someone has put a balloon in the corner, attempting but failing to be cheerful. Helen knows she’s in for a hard time- Granddad Peter is as gloomy as his room. But when she mentions the trip she’s going on, Granddad tells a story that Helen has never heard before. It is a story that puts you on edge. It’s a story that will make you turn the pages faster and faster. It’s a story that will make Helen never think twice about going on that trip again.

Fast paced and mysterious, The Piper will get you having nightmares for days after reading the last page. I’ve read many books about World War Two, but none of them have been like this. As the narrator is introduced at the start (Granddad Peter) it feels like someone is reading the book with you, especially because he is one of the main characters in the story he tells. It could also be passed off as an amazing mystery, as all the twists and clues are like separate surprises- most of the time I couldn’t guess what would happen next. Creative and imaginative, I can picture what happens in my head, it is that detailed.

I haven’t read man horror books, but if you like being on the edge of your seat, I recommend this book! By the way, if you do read it, I suggest that you do not read it at night.

The age range is 12+ for boys and girls (but boys may enjoy it more). The publisher is Anderson Press and I give it a five star out of five.

Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo

The last thing she said to me was: ‘Live, child, you have to live. Live for your mother, live for me.’

Listen to the Moon is set in World War One, in the Scilly Isles. The war is raging around the islands, and what was warmth towards the Germans has turned to pure hostility. Alfie and his family know they need to avoid any Germans at all costs, but when they find a girl on an uninhabited island nearby, they can’t resist taking her in. Cold, alone, frightened, the girl has no memory of how she had got there. No matter how hard they pressed, nothing could be done. The one word she spoke, the one word she spoke out of the millions she could have said, was, ‘Lucy.’ And so the story begins.

I had great expectations for this book, what with Michael Morpurgo being a very successful bookseller. And, in the end, I was pleased. Very pleased. I like how the book is written from the view of Lucy, the girl, and also in third person. It was very fast-paced, and all events were quite unexpected which made it more mysterious. After reading this book, I thought more about the situations that happened and even looked up a few events.

This book is very similar to other Michael Morpurgo books, as it is about World War One, but I think it had a more personal side to it as well. If you have read Kensuke’s Kingdom, which is another of Morpurgo’ s books, you will like Listen to the Moon. I would say the age range is 12+, for boys and girls, and the publisher is Harper Collins. I give this book a four star.