After enjoying The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August last year I became intrigued when I saw The Sudden Appearance of Hope on a recent trip to Dymocks. After picking it up and reading the synopsis I knew it was coming home with me. This novel is about Hope (big surprise!) your typical young woman out in the world, travelling and living her life. Except for one thing: people can’t remember her. It started when she was sixteen, her parents slowly forgetting to set her a place at dinner or pick her up form school, her friends forgetting her name and it escalates from there until she is virtually no one.
This book starts off with a bang – Hope is a thief pulling off spectacular heists, thanks to her anonymity, in exotic places like Dubai. One of her targets is attending a part held by an entrepreneur who has developed an app called Perfection. An app that monitors your movements and spending habits and provides you with advice to be your best self. An app directly linked with the suicide death of a young woman that Hope encounters. You follow Hope across the globe as she try to punish those responsible for pushing this girl to the brink and for creating an army of perfection clones.
This book has all the elements for a great novel and it certainly kept me going, attempting to find out how Hope succeeds in her mission. Unfortunately somewhere along the way the story lost something for me. The plot seemed to get a little to intricate, the storyline a little too long and I found myself a little underwhelmed at the end of the novel. Don’t get me wrong, I can see how others may love this book. The characters are fascinating and mysterious, the plot is complex, layered and intriguing. For me it just left me wanting a little more from it. Perhaps a little more depth to the characters and a little less plot? However, that is a preference of mine and many others will find this the perfect fit for them.
One thing North does really well in this novel is get the reader thinking. The Perfection app tracks your movements, your phonically and messages, your spending habits. Then takes this information and gives you hints of how you can be your best self – gyms near by, foods that are good for you, hairdressers that will make you look perfect. This idea really taps into the underlying issue of social media and how we let it shape and affect us. This may sometime be a positive thing but more often than not it can be a negative thing. This theme is explored throughout the book and left me pondering the idea of perfection in the media and how it may lead to conformity and unhappiness if you cannot fit the standard. An interesting concept that is more and more relevant in today’s society.
Pick up this book if you like a novel that is a little different, certainly a story you haven’t read before. A little scientific, a little spy action thriller, a little psychological. This is a fast-paced book that will suck you in and leave you unable to rest until you have solved the mystery. Unfortunately this wasn’t quite for me but I have slapped a Books on the Rail sticker on it and soon it should be out there on the public transport of Adelaide looking for it’s perfect match. I give The Sudden Appearance of Hope two jewels, stolen by Hope.