Book Review – How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss

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Hattie looks like she is set to have a miserable summer as her family are on holiday, her best friend Kat is at uni in Edinburgh and her friend with benefits (if you can call them that) Reuben has disappeared to Europe. When Hattie realises she is pregnant all she wants to do is run away from the idea so when her long lost Great-Aunt Gloria suggests a road trip she decides to go, even though Gloria is in the early stages of dementia and loves a Gin Sling or two, or three….

I have to admit this novel took a long time to grab my attention. Between Hattie’s constantly meandering thoughts and Gloria’s hostility I was beginning to loose patience with it. I was a third of the way through and the road trip hadn’t even started yet. However, when it did I found it hard to put it down.

Gloria doesn’t want to just reminisce, she wants to tell a very specific story about her (and Hattie’s) family but she will only reveal the details in order and when she thinks it is the right time. This creates a lot of suspense and unexpected twists. What is revealed is a story of love, fear, friendship, humour and compromise in the past and the present.

The novel is a lot deeper than I first realised and touches on every emotion a person will experience throughout life. To reveal certain topics would be to spoil the book but over all it is a story about relationships, opportunities missed and taken and the consequences of these actions. It is also about the relationship one has with one’s self. If your thoughts and memories were to cease to exists then would you also disappear?

Chrissie

Girl Missing by Sophie McKenzie (no spoilers)

Imagine if everything you new about your life turned out to be a lie. When Lauren starts to realise her adoptive parents aren’t telling her the truth she sets of on a journey to uncover secrets surrounding her adoption. However certain people will do anything to make sure those secrets stay buried.

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Girl Missing grabbed my attention from the start and held it until the end – not an easy feat. After I’d finished reading I realised and was tired, thirsty and hungry but because I’d been so absorbed in the plot I hadn’t even noticed! Perfect pacing and the right balance of dialogue and action, likeable but flawed characters and plot twists which aren’t obvious makes this one of the most enjoyable novels I’ve read.

Author Sophie McKenzie does a wonderful job of creating secondary characters that are three dimensional and relevant in their own right. Main character Lauren can be a little self absorbed and her friend Jam can run out on her at the worst moments but these are teenagers facing very difficult odds and they do realise their failings and admit there mistake. It’s because the characters are relatable and likeable that really drives this story along as well as the mystery and danger. I’ve read incredibly well constructed novels before but had to abandon them because I couldn’t tolerate the characters.

I highly recommend Girl Missing to both adults and teens and will certainly be passing this on to a few friends and my bloke to read.

This 10th Anniversary edition includes a deleted scene and a Q&A with McKenzie.

https://missingkids.com

Chrissie

Light Block Clip On Reading Light Review

Light Block clip on reading Light

This is perfect for when you need a light to read by but don’t want to disturb anyone else near by. Erganomic and stylish, it simply clips onto the back of your book, the goose neck bends over your page and you turn the light on by pressing the grey square.

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As you can see the light is quite bright but there isn’t any light pollution around the book and it didn’t strain my rather light-sensitive eyes at all.

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I bought the Light Block from Waterstones for around £6.00 and was pleased to see that it comes with 3 X AG3 (LR41) batteries which are easy to replace. This light really has got me into reading again!

Chrissie