Book review: The Girl Who Just Appeared by Jonathan Harvey

The blurb…

Product DetailsLondon 2014. Holly Smith has never fitted in. Adopted when just a few months old, she’s always felt she was someone with no history, the girl who just appeared. All she has is the address of where she was born – 32B Gambier Terrace, Liverpool. By a bizarre twist of fate Holly discovers that the flat is available to rent. She travels north and moves in. When she finds a biscuit tin full of yellowing papers under the floorboards, she wonders if this might hold the secret to her past.

I really wasn’t sure whether or not I would enjoy this book. The author has written for the British soap opera Coronation Street – which I never watch – and the old sitcom Gimme, Gimme, Gimme – which I truly hated – so I wasn’t holding out much hope…

However, as soon as Holly’s story began I found myself sucked in and desperate to read on. She is a very endearing character, and you feel sorry for her predicament. But what makes the book so intriguing is the cast of extras, who are all larger than life and over-the-top, from the mad, psychic neighbour to the crazy fading star Sylvie, who employs Holly at the start of the novel. The mixture of mad and sad, zany and heartbreaking is this book’s strength, I found, as underneath some of the exaggerated characters are some really sad tales. I also liked the contrast between London and Liverpool, the latter with its friendly folk and Beatles lovers. The characters from Liverpool also speak in accurate and convincing Liverpudlian dialect, which also helps bring the book to life. Alongside Holly’s narrative are some letters written by 14-year-old Darren, and these tooย were brilliantly written and served a stark and fascinating contrast to Holly’s narrative.

You also really want to know what has happened in Holly’s past, and the book is very cleverly written to keep you guessing, and there are a few twists and turns thrown in too.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it a real page-turner. I loved the characters and the story, and I think the way sad stories were told in a humorous way worked very well. I was pleasantly surprised overall, and would check out more from Harvey.

My rating: 9 out of 10



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