Imagine my excitement when I received two of my most anticipated May new releases through Netgalley on the same day! This is basically book nerd Nirvana. I eager read both books…with mixed result. Here are my honest thoughts that I give in exchange for the eARCS.
The One Memory of Flora Banks
By: Emily Barr
Release Date: May 2
Flora Banks doesn’t remember what happened this morning, or yesterday evening, or the day before. Flora has no short term memory meaning she hasn’t formed new memories in years. Then one night her best friend’s boyfriend, Drake, kisses her and she remembers it. Flora remembers everything about their encounter and she wants to relive it but Drake has literally moved to the end of the Earth (or at least the arctic). Flora knows that she needs to find Drake because he may just be able to fix her brain. Flora must screw up her courage to follow the boy who may save her to the end of the world. Will Flora find love on her journey or will she find herself?
This book hooked my from page one and just didn’t let go! Banks’ nailed the Flora’s narration, it is repetitive and slightly confusion but that’s Flora’s confused and convoluted brain. However, this narration may not be perfect for someone looking for an easy breezy teen love story. This book can be confusing and hard to follow but it all makes sense because this is just Flora’s mental floundering. My former psych major self found something charming and wonderfully refreshing about Flora. She is simple and lives her life by very basic terms because she is forever stuck in a version of her younger self. All of her mental gymnastics made perfect sense to someone who spent years of their life studying the human brain. I happily followed Flora on her journey in search for Drake which turned out to actually be a journey of self discovery. “The One Memory of Flora Banks” could have easily felt like a boring retread of many of amnesia book however Barr is able to make a fresh original story with a wonderful main character for who the reader will root.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5
The Violet Grenade
By: Victoria Scott
Release Day: May 16
Domino Ray is in hiding on the streets of Detroit. The only person she has let close to her in over a year is petty thief Dizzy. Together the two form a tiny family but when Dizzy gets arrest Domino will do anything to get him out of jail which includes joining Madam Karina’s Home for Burgeoning Performers. However, once Domino is ensconced in the house she soon realizes that not everything is what it appears. Domino needs to decide who to trust and who to avoid just to survive.
Oh, how this book was disappointing. I was a HUGE fan of Scott’s “Dante Walker” series. I thought the entire series had a humorously sarcastic but wonderfully realistic narrative voice that was delightfully refreshing however I have yet to find the same delight any of her other novels and “The Violet Grenade” is no different. The story felt flat and at no point did it hook me in the way “Dante Walker” did. The problem may be with the main character. Domino Ray isn’t particularly interesting and her inability or unwillingness to see what’s going around her is as frustrating as it is annoying. From her first interaction with Madame Karina I just wanted to shake her and say “Seriously, you can’t figure out what’s going on here?”. Plus, there is a back story for our heroine that feels entirely unnecessary and beyond convoluted. Domino has a dangerous voice in her head…okay, that’s fine but that all feels like it should be part of an entirely different book not just folded into Domino’s story. However, I can’t blame poor Domino for all the issues in this book. The story moves along at barely a tortoise pace which may be because Scott tried to include just a little too much story. The only bright points are Cain, a boy that works for Madame Karina who has honest feelings for Domino, and Poppet, a friend and ally of Domino but didn’t bring enough to the table to save the book for me. I am sure that there are many readers who are going to love the story of a girl who has gotten herself in over her head and is desperately trying to find her freedom while dealing with her mental issue however I am very much not that reader.
Final Rating: 2 out of 5