Book Review: The Girl Who Just Appeared by Jonathan Harvey

The Girl Who Just Appeared

I picked up this book in a second hand book shop when I was looking for something light hearted to read.  In the biog at the front of the book Jonathan lists his win of the Spacehopper Champion at Butlins, Pwllheli in 1976 s one of his notable achievements.  Having entered a few space hopper races in my time I was particularly impressed by this. That along with this books endorsement by Caitlin Moran sold it to me.  There certainly is a light heartedness and some welcome humour in this engaging novel but there is a serious side to it too.

The is the story of Holly and her search for where she came from.  Holly was adopted when just a few months old.  She knows nothing about her birth mother except the address where she was born in Liverpool.   It’s now the present day and following the death of her adopted parents, Holly sets out on a journey to discover her roots beginning with the address in Liverpool.

Along side the story of Holly runs the story of Darren.  Its 1981 and Darren is a 15 year old boy living in Toxteth, Liverpool negotiating life with his errant mother and his younger brother with the Toxteth riots as a background.  Darren’s story is told through a journal he has written.  I enjoyed this 15 year olds perspective on his difficult life and the careful development of his character as he worked out his place in the world.

The novel moves fairly seamlessly between the two stories slowly and deliberately drawing them together.  The story is well told and the plot gathers pace as events unfold.  Although it might be argued some of the outcomes are a little predictable there were  enough twists along the way to keep the reader guessing and enough surprises to maintain interest.

Jonathan Harvey isn’t an author I have read before and although I may not actively seek him out, should I happen upon one of his books in the future I wouldn’t be adverse to giving him another go!

Image: Changing-pages

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