The Sudden Appearance of Hope, by Claire North

Hope Ardern is the woman the world forgets. It started when she was 16 years old, a slow declining, an isolation, one piece at a time. A father forgetting to drive her to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher who forgets to chase her missing homework. A friend who looks straight through her and sees a stranger. No matter what she does, the words she says, the people she hurts, the crimes she commits – you will never remember who she is. That makes her life tricky. But it also makes her dangerous.

So is the premise of A Sudden Appearance of Hope, and while it sounds promising, it just didn’t click for me. Hope doesn’t literally disappear, she fades from the memories of all who meet her, moments after they set eyes on her. Unfortunately, that also rang true for the book. I spent days reading a few pages and putting it down for a week, reading a few pages and putting it down for a week. It was very hard to get invested in it.

It has so much potential as a story, but it is so drawn out and long-winded that it lost any of the magic it could have so easily have contained. North is a fantastic writer, she has a beautiful way with words and it was strangely hypnotic. However, it got to the stage where I was just reading words to get through the pages, rather than digesting the story. The story needed a decent prune – there are pages and pages of drawn-out descriptions which slow the pace down to an almost unbearable speed.

In saying that, the idea behind the novel was interesting. Perfection is an app designed to make your life, well, perfect. North has some interesting commentary on the role social media plays in our lives, but that is unfortunately the only redeeming feature.

While The Sudden Appearance of Hope boasts a unique story, it will be one that divides readers. Some will love it, some will hate it. Unfortunately for me, it falls firmly in the latter.

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TITLE: The Sudden Appearance of Hope
AUTHOR(S): Claire North
PUBLISHER: Hachette
RRP: $36.99
ISBN: 9780356504537

Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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