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How Not to Disappear

Review

How Not to Disappear

Clare Furniss is a British young adult novelist who was born in London and grew up in Birmingham. She worked a bunch of odd jobs before attending Cambridge University and Aberdeen University in the U.K. She worked in media relations before writing her first book, THE YEAR OF THE RAT. Her second contemporary fiction novel, HOW NOT TO DISAPPEAR was released in the UK in 2016, and releases in the U.S. in February 2017.

HOW NOT TO DISAPPEAR is the gripping tale of Hattie and her great-aunt Gloria, who have not yet met until the start of the novel. Hattie is pregnant, and in a stage of denial about it. Her father died when she was little, and her great-aunt Gloria has dementia and is facing the memories of her complicated past. The plot mainly focuses on Hattie and Gloria going on a road trip to recover Gloria’s past before she can no longer remember it herself. Along the way, Gloria reveals her life story to Hattie, and Hattie reflects on her own life and learns a lot about herself.

"Full of devastatingly real struggles and redemption, HOW NOT TO DISAPPEAR is shocking and bittersweet, and it will have you guessing the entire time."

When I first started reading HOW NOT TO DISAPPEAR, I was a little skeptical of whether or not I would end up liking it. Little did I know, I would be sucked in and not be able to stop reading it. HOW NOT TO DISAPPEAR is not just one story, it’s really two in one. I was not expecting that at all, and I was shocked by Gloria’s story. This novel ended up being a very emotional and tough read, but it is also bound to leave an impact on readers. When reading it, you do not want to know any more details than a vague synopsis to avoid spoilers.

Full of devastatingly real struggles and redemption, HOW NOT TO DISAPPEAR is shocking and bittersweet, and it will have you guessing the entire time. I enjoyed reading about the number of places Hattie and Gloria visit in the U.K., and there was humor mixed in with the seriousness that lightened the mood. Hattie’s family was incredibly entertaining and fun to read about. They were so supportive of Hattie, and it is so necessary that supportive families are represented in YA because they do exist out there, even if YA makes you think otherwise at times. Even though this book is closing in on 450 pages, it did not feel that long, the chapters are short, and there are plenty of parts and flashbacks from Gloria’s point-of-view. It turned into a rather surprisingly quick read for me.

I highly recommend HOW NOT TO DISAPPEAR to both teens and adults who can handle mature content in YA and value a compelling story. This book shines a light on the contrast between the way things used to be and the way they are now. This novel is powerful and thought-provoking, yet heartfelt, and readers will be glad they decided to pick it up.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on February 21, 2017

How Not to Disappear
by Clare Furniss