Monday, 20 July 2020

2020 Reading Challenge | How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister

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How To Disappear by Gillian McAllister - 5/5 
Blurb: Lauren's daughter Zara witnessed a terrible crime. But speaking up comes with a price, and when Zara's identity is revealed online, it puts a target on her back.

The only choice is to disappear.

To keep Zara safe Lauren will give up everything and everyone she loves, even her husband.

There will no goodbyes. Their pasts will be rewritten. New names, new home, new lives.

The rules are strict for a reason. They are being hunted. One mistake - a text, an Instagram like - could bring their old lives crashing into the new.

They can never assume someone isn't watching, waiting.

As Lauren will learn, disappearing is easy. Staying hidden is harder...

Review: Do you have a favourite author? If I am ever asked for a book recommendation, I will always say 'No Further Questions' by Gillian McAllister. 'How To Disappear' may have just knocked that off the top spot.

14 year Zara witnesses the murder of a homeless man by an up and coming football player. In court, it comes out that she has lied slightly and the case is thrown out. The footballer's career is over due to these allegations and a vigilante group set out to find her and make her pay. Due to her age, she is known only as Girl A but it doesn't take long for them to find out her real name and where she lives.

She is threatened so must go into witness protection. She lives with a blended family; her mum Lauren, stepdad Aidan and stepsister Poppy. Poppy is a teenage carer for her mum who has MS. Aidan can't leave his daughter (who must stay to care for her mum) so Lauren and Zara have to go alone. The family is split up.

The chapters alternate between the points of view of Aidan, Lauren, Zara and Poppy and the book is split into three sections; Before, After and Later.

Aidan tries to infiltrate the group that are searching for Girl A so they don't find Lauren and Zara, claiming he is searching for them but throwing them off the scent. Poppy, Lauren and Zara also have secrets that they are hiding and you feel very worried that they are going to contradict each other and everything will backfire.

The pace is fantastic and my heart was in my mouth whilst reading. Towards the end of the After section, I felt like my heart was racing and it had me almost wanting to cry! I lost count of how many times I wanted to shout "What are you doing?!" at a number of characters.

All of the characters have so much depth to them and I liked hearing about Poppy's struggles with being a teenage carer for her mum. I feel like that is something that would often be overlooked.

The epilogue was just perfect and nearly had me crying again. Bravo, Gillian!

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