I've been loving reading this year, compared to last year when I only read about 6/7 books and this is my 42nd book; I was very kindly sent *How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss (£3.38, SALE, paperback) from the lovely people at Simon and Schuster. The book was published last month, it's 416 pages and it's within the YA, young adult, genre.
I haven't read anything like it before, it is not the kind of book are usually go for but that is one of the reasons why I wanted to try it! The story follows Hattie, her family and friends as well as a long lost relative, who has a lot of secrets! If you like books involving relationships and family mysteries then definitely pick this one up but be warned that it is not a happy book – it is one of the most melancholy and at times upsetting books I've read recently. The book deals with a lot of important but difficult and potentially triggering topics such as rape, domestic abuse, racism, dysfunctional families, adoption, dementia and more so if any of those topics might be upsetting or triggering to you then maybe this isn't the book for you.
I love writing style, it was such an easy and quick read although when I say easy, I mean easy to read as some parts of the book were so upsetting and I can't imagine myself in some of the characters situations. I managed to finish the book quite quickly although I did have to have a break for a few days while travelling to London and the Harry Potter tour which turned out to be a bit of an ordeal – blog post coming soon!
I loved Gloria, she is such a vivid, interesting and entertaining character – she was my favourite character from the book as well as Hattie! I love the relationship between Gloria and Hattie and it was interesting to watch that relationship develop. The journey they take, the stories, secrets told and memories relived are at times funny, melancholy, relatable, upsetting and shocking and it's an emotional journey for the reader as well and it did make me quite upset especially regarding Gloria's memories of her youth but it's a journey I'm glad I was able to take with Gloria and Hattie. My only problems with the book was a couple of the characters were a bit annoying such as Reuben and Kat as well as the mum sometimes. Additionally I think the cover/blurb doesn't explain how triggering the book could potentially be although that would take away some of mystery and shock factor I guess. Lastly I think it was a little repetitive in places but that might be the authors way of making the reader feel as people with dementia, and those who care for them, could feel.
Overall, I think it's a great read that involves a lot of important topics such as mental health, teenage pregnancy, relationships, whether supportive and loving or dysfunction and abusive which I think are not very present or as raw as they are in this book compared to other YA books. I won't be re-reading as I'm not really one for emotional books but I loved the ending and the rays of friendship, love, hope and the endearing spirit of the gloriously fabulous Gloria throughout the book. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.
Have you read this book? What are you currently reading?