‘Our memories are what make us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them we are nobody.’
Published by Simon and Schuster, 14th July 2016
416 pages in paperback.
Cover Silhouette © Shutterstock
Cover Design by Leo Nickolls
Summary from Amazon:
Hattie's summer isn't going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to 'find himself" and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum's wedding. Oh, and she's also just discovered that she's pregnant with Reuben's baby…Then Gloria, Hattie's great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria's fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery - Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future…
Non Pratt's Trouble meets Thelma and Louise with a touch of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Clare Furniss' remarkable How Not To Disappear is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that will make you laugh and break your heart.
How Not to Disappear is a contemporary YA read that’s funny, bittersweet and thought provoking. Told from two different perspectives, Hattie and Gloria are beautifully drawn characters whose past and present intertwine and drive the story towards the shocking revelation of Gloria’s biggest secret and Hattie’s ultimate decision.
The idea of ‘disappearing’ runs throughout the book: whether that’s running away from your family or simply taking a little breathing space, the death of a parent or the loss of memory that comes hand in hand with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Then there’s the idea of choice and the difference in attitudes then and now towards young mothers, as well as the options available to them.
This is a book about family relationships and it handles the sensitive subjects of teen pregnancy and dementia deftly with honesty and humour. Both Hattie and Gloria struggle with denial of their respective situations and it’s only through trust that they discover strength, self-awareness and a true friendship that helps them both come to terms with reality.
How Not to Disappear is an emotional and very moving read. I couldn’t put it down and I warn you, I cried at the end.
Sarah Baker is a children’s author. Her novel for 8-12 year olds, Through the Mirror Door, is available now.