The One Memory of Flora Banks

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
The One Memory of Flora Banks Book Poster Image
Gripping thriller about a teen who can't make new memories.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The One Memory of Flora Banks gives readers a look at the emotional challenges faced by someone who's perceived as "different" — navigating a world that's often impatient or indifferent to people with challenges and trying to find their place in the lives of their friends and families. Teens who have a family member with early stage dementia or Alzheimer's will get a window into the daily life of someone who must use Post-it Notes, journals, photos, or write notes on their hands and arms to remember names, events, and even the faces of people they love.

Positive Messages

Be brave. Embrace the adventures in your life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Flora is smart, inventive, and tenacious. She tries to live up to her motto of "Be brave" almost every hour of her day. When given the chance to venture beyond the small safe world her parents have created for her, she finds the courage and confidence to do it.


Fiona and Drake kiss and exchange a few mildly explicit emails -- "I want to touch you and to feel your hands on my body" and "Your body is perfect, I know it is. If it wasn't such a creepy thing to do, I would ask you to send me a picture."


Flora uses Post-it Notes to help her remember things. There are a few passing references to musical groups. Flora tries to find someone using Facebook and Twitter.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Flora and other teens drink wine at a party, but it's not illegal in England for teenagers to drink at home or on private premises. She drinks beer at a bar in Norway.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Emily Barr's The One Memory of Flora Banks is the story of a 17-year-old English girl who has anterograde amnesia. Flora can't remember anything that's happened to her since the age of 10. Not what happened a week before or even an hour before, until she kisses her best friend's boyfriend and creates a memory that stays with her. It's so powerful that Flora follows him to a small town on the Arctic Circle, certain he holds the key to unlocking her memory. But what she discovers shocks Flora and is certain to surprise readers. This is a "quick, turn the page I can't wait to see what happens next" psychological thriller without sex, violence, or profanity. An English import, it's already a big best-seller in Europe.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykelli s. December 11, 2017

The one memory of flora banks

This book has much language and sexual situations/content. Would not advise for middle grades.
Adult Written byAmy D. May 10, 2017

More sexual content that I'd allow for my 13 year old

Quick read, good book. But too much sexual content for my 13 yr old. "I spend more time than you might imagine thinking of what you would look like nake... Continue reading

What's the story?

As THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS begins, 17-year-old Flora is living with her parents in Cornwall on the English coast. Her parents have told her that the removal of a brain tumor when she was 10 left her with no short-term memory. She remembers her life before age 10, but since then, anything she does or anyone she meets is almost immediately forgotten. Happily, she's had a best friend named Paige since she was 4, and that ongoing relationship is at the core of Flora's life. But at a going-away party for Paige's boyfriend, Drake, Flora kisses him and then never forgets that moment. Paige finds out and is furious. She tells Flora she's no longer her friend and will never speak to her again. When Flora's parents make a sudden trip to Paris to be with her desperately ill brother, she's left alone in the house with Paige looking out for her. Or so her parents think. Instead, Flora finds a credit card and her passport and leaves for Norway to find Drake, who she believes will be able to unlock her memory. 

Is it any good?

This can't-put-it-down mystery/thriller is packed with secrets, lies, and unexpected twists that take readers from the coast of England to the icy reaches of the Arctic Circle. The pace of The One Memory of Flora Banks builds slowly and steadily and then quickens to an almost frenzied pace that mirrors Flora's emotional state as she reaches Norway and everything she (and the reader) think they know begins to crash down around her. Is she mad, off her meds, or the only one who knows the truth? 

While readers may never have met anyone like Flora, author Emily Barr has made her an immediately likable and identifiable character with many of the same challenges faced by teens -- overprotective parents, quarrels with your best friend, the desire to be independent and find your own way. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Flora's parents try to protect her from the world in The One Memory of Flora Banks. Do you think your parents go too far in "protecting" you, or do you wish they'd be more involved in the decisions you have to make?

  • Is trying to build a dating relationship with someone using mostly email or social media a good idea? Can you really get to know someone without spending a lot of time together?

  • How difficult is it for students with disabilities to get around in your school? Do you think the school has done enough or are there still things that need to change?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrillers

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate