How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss
Published by Simon & Schuster
As a more mature reader than Clare Furniss’s target audience, I approached the book with a healthy scepticism, imagining I would find it hard to identify with any of its characters, let alone the seventeen year-old heroine. To my welcome surprise, I was drawn into a story much deeper and more entertaining than I predicted, and would not hesitate to recommend this novel to a readership wider than the young women to whom its dust jacket blurb would primarily appeal.
How not to Disappear tells of the trials of Hattie, a spirited teen, only just on the verge of adulthood, yet dealing with the incredibly adult decision of whether to go through with an unexpected pregnancy. Reluctant to confide in her mother or her close friend and highly unreliable father material, Reuben, fate intervenes with the appearance of a mysterious and previously unknown great aunt named Gloria. To add another layer of complexity, Gloria is in the early stages of dementia and is prickly and guarded to boot, meaning Hattie runs the risk of investing her secret in a woman she may never really get to know.
What unfolds is a surprising and confronting journey of self-discovery for both of them, keeping the reader guessing at every turn and rewarded with an exploration of universal themes facing every generation of women, regardless of age. This ensured I could identify with, and empathise with, both Hattie and Gloria, making the novel an extremely enjoyable read, enhanced by an endearing sense of humour and satisfying denouement.
For young readers on the verge of adulthood themselves, wanting something less predictable than Twilight or other mass-market teen lit, take a chance on this emerging UK author and you may be pleasantly surprised. No doubt your Mum will want to read it too!
Four and a half stars, this novel will have you cheering for both its heroines and the incredibly brave choices they make. How not to Disappear is an emotionally engaging and highly addictive read.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Clare Furniss
Title: How Not to Disappear
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: January 2016