Reader Reviewed How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss

How Not to Disappear

Written by Clare Furniss

13+ readers   Books of the Month   Christmas Books 2016    YA readers   UKLA 2017   eBooks   
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Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | August 2016 Book of the Month Hattie’s life changes forever when she meets the great aunt she never knew she had. Gloria by name, and glorious by nature, this headstrong former actress, who likes a gin sling (or three), is in the early stages of dementia. “Memories are what make us who we are,” Gloria remarks. “Without them we are nobody,” and so she and Hattie embark on an emotional road-trip, retracing significant paths from Gloria’s past. While Gloria battles memory loss and the turmoil that comes from disturbing one’s ghosts, Hattie has her own problems. She’s pregnant by her close friend Reuben. She hasn’t told him, and he’s just got together with a new “hot” French girlfriend…

As Gloria relives and reveals the heartache around own experience of motherhood, there’s a strong sense of time running out for them both. Gloria doesn’t know how long she’ll have her memories, while Hattie has to make a decision about her pregnancy. “You can't be scared of regret,” Gloria advises. “All you can do is make the choice that seems right at the time." And that’s what Hattie does, as Gloria did before her.

This is a beautiful, bittersweet story about family bonds, the cycle of life and love in all its forms. ~ Joanne Owen

Publisher Passion Piece: 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.

Reader Reviews

Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews here.

  • Louisa Cunliffe, age 18 - 'How Not to Disappear is a book filled with important themes and ideas that are intertwined in a beautifully crafted story...If you want a book that will make you laugh, cry and think then this is a must read.'
  • Lauren Coffman, age 15 - 'An immense journey of self-discovery, this book deals spectacularly with the themes of finding yourself, of forgetting, and of everything you were afraid of being forgotten, because ‘without our memories, we are nobody’.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I highly recommend this amazing book. Truly wonderful!'
  • Emma Hughes, age 15 - 'I really enjoyed this book- it was refreshingly different from most of the books I have read.'
  • Lucy Smith - 'A book that captures the relationships across generations and amidst the modern family....i.e. there is no normal. An easy read.'


How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss

A secret past. An uncertain future. An unforgettable journey that will reveal them both. A stunning new novel from the bestselling author of The Year of The Rat.

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.

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...


Emotional, moving and thought provoking, and I loved it. The Sun

This isn't the first YA novel to incorporate dementia as a plot device, but it's gloriously funny, deeply emotional and a triumph. -- Sally Morris Daily Mail

This novel, encompassing violence to women, changing attitudes to unmarried mothers, and many kinds of love, is funny, sharply observed, shocking and wonderful. -- Nicolette Jones The Sunday Times

Hattie and Gloria are such fantastic central characters. What a lovely, lovely book! -- Lisa Williamson, author of The Art of Being Normal

An absolutely gorgeous, heartfelt and incredibly enjoyable follow up to The Year of the Rat ... Clare writes about serious subjects lightly but with real feeling, and conveys family relationships so well. -- Robin Stevens, author of Murder Most Unladylike

Praise for The Year of The Rat:

‘Beautifully written with a dry sense of humour’ Stylist

‘Impressive and moving’ Daily Mail

‘An assured debut’ The Bookseller

‘A strong new voice’ The Guardian

‘You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll love this book’ The Sun

‘A painful and touching debut’ Sunday Express

‘Pearl is throughly authentic in her distress’ Financial Times

‘A feel-good novel’ The Sunday Times

‘Incredibly gripping, enormously moving story’ Radio 2 Bookclub

‘A truly amazing read’ Malorie Blackman

I enjoyed the honesty of it and the way in which sadness and joy are presented as two sides of the same coin. I enjoyed the acknowledgement that love doesn't always conquer all ... But mostly I enjoyed the growing relationship between two women, one looking back over a life and one looking towards a life yet to come. Recommended. The Bookbag

A really heartfelt book which has a lot to say about family and its importance. I thoroughly recommend it. -- Kirsty, The Overflowing Library Goodreads

Just as emotional, warm and life-affirming as Clare Furniss debut, The Year of the Rat... subtle but powerful ... How Not to Disappear is another beautiful novel from Clare Furniss. It talks of love, family and the defining nature of memories in a way that is completely pitch-perfect. So Many Books, So Little Time

About the Author

Clare Furniss

Clare Furniss studied at Cambridge University and worked for several years in political media relations. She now lives in Bath and is completing an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University.

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Book Info


416 pages
Interest Age: From 14


Clare Furniss
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Simon & Schuster Childrens Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster Ltd

Publication date

14th July 2016




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