How Not To Disappear

How Not to Disappear

How did I get it?:
I won a copy during the British Books Challenge

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Year Of The Rat


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’s 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 previously knew even 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 wiped from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future.


After enjoying The Year Of The Rat by Clare Furniss, I was excited to get my hands on a copy of her second book, How Not To Disappear. I thought this was a fantastic book. It had some real heart-breaking moments and moments which made me stop and reflect.

How Not To Disappear tells the story of two characters with two perspectives. We hear from Hattie, who is a pregnant teenager and her great-aunt Gloria. Gloria is in the early stages of dementia. Hattie hears about her estranged great-aunt from one of Gloria’s neighbours. She takes it upon herself to visit Gloria and finds herself bonding with Gloria. Gloria recalls her past and in doing so, takes Hattie on a journey which will help her in the future.

I really enjoyed Gloria and Hattie’s characters. I loved seeing their relationship grow over time. They both had their problems/secrets and it was heart-warming to see them come together and support one another. I was captivated by their stories and loved following them on their road trip. Dual narration doesn’t always work for me, but with How Not To Disappear I found it very refreshing. It helped me to get to know the characters deeply which I appreciated.

It’s refreshing to see tough subject matter like dementia written about in YA literature. It was really upsetting to read at times, with some incredibly poignant moments, but I feel like it was handled with care and sensitivity. Clare’s writing really made me feel for both Gloria, Hattie and anyone that has had to suffer at the hands of his disease, be it the person themselves or the family members.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A beautiful thought-provoking book!

8 thoughts on “How Not To Disappear

  1. I have heard of The Year of the Rat but never read anything by this author. It sounds like a really interesting read, I’ve never read about dementia in a YA novel before. I’m always a fan of a story with a pregnant teenager, I always like seeing how they deal with it all! Great review 🙂

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