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The Girl Who Just Appeared Paperback – 17 Jul 2014

169 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (17 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144723846X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447238461
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The Girl Who Just Appeared is a wonderful book - gripping and twisty and tender and touching. (Marian Keyes)

Harvey makes me SCREAM. (Caitlin Moran)

Absolutely delightful. Jonathan Harvey writes with all his heart and all his soul. (Lisa Jewell)

Harvey is a star writer... His third novel is very funny, as one might expect from such a brilliant writer of comedy - but it shows that he can also handle sadness and tragedy, plus a narrative that cuts effortlessly between present-day London and Liverpool in 1981... Sparkling and moving. (The Times)

Wit and warmth. (Sunday Mirror)

Sensitive, moving, yet fabulously entertaining and laced with humour. (Daily Express)

A warm, witty tale about personal history and accepting the truth about your family - however, unexpected it may turn out to be. (Heat)

Book Description

From the award-winning author of All She Wants and the writer of Coronation Street and Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, comes this comedy with a huge, beating heart.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gilbster TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
After her adoptive parents die, Holly decides to search for her birth mother. All she knows is the name, and address that were featured on her birth certificate.

When the flat that she was born in becomes available to rent, Holly drops everything in London to move to Liverpool, in the hope she can do some digging and find her birth mum.

Within a couple of days in Liverpool, she finds Darren's diary.

The book then switches between the diary set in Liverpool in the 80's, written by a very uneducated young boy (if you like correct spelling and punctuation, beware there isn't any in the diary sections), and present day with Holly search.

The plot moves at a fast pace and it was a good story, that although I had pre-thought ideas after reading the blurb, this broke all of them and surprised me constantly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Princess Tamina on 1 May 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started this book with high hopes and thoroughly enjoyed the first part - as an adopted child I could empathise with Holly's experiences and the desire to find her birth mother. However, once Darren's story was introduced into the narrative, I felt it went downhill, as I didn't enjoy the writing style of the diary and actively looked forward to the end of those sections. The last section of the book was just preposterous. I don't wish to spoil the ending for anyone, but in my opinion it was just downright silly and left me feeling short-changed. I suppose those who have given it 5 stars were prepared to suspend disbelief, but it was a step too far for me.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Agi TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 July 2014
Format: Paperback
I have lately read an interview with an author, I think it was Jodi Picoult who said that the most important thing in the book is the first sentence, the first paragraph, the first page of the story, that it must be like a tornado that carry away the reader. Well, it was absolutely the case with The Girl who Just Appeared. I have read the first sentence and couldn't wait for the next, and next, and next, it had me hooked from the get - go and kept my attention and interest through the whole book.

I have smiled at the first sentence already and kept smiling or laughing out loud through the whole book, but also have dropped a few tears. This is a bitter - sweet book, sad - funny book and a wonderful read. Poignant and touching.

Holly has just buried her mother and with her father already gone and no siblings she's now alone. As she knows she was adopted, she decides to start searching for her biological mother. She has some information, her name and address where she was born, and totally unexpectedly she finds herself renting THE flat. Flat when she was born. It means she must move from London to Liverpool, leaving her job as a PA to a very moody and mean diva. In the flat Holly discovers a diary which belonged to a teenager Darren. He describes his life in this flat, his family: mother who was a prostitute and younger brother. After reading the whole diary, Holly decides that she's Darren sister. Through her new landlady Rose, who knows her biological mother, she get to know her as well and only learn that she's at care home with Alzheimer and so is of no help. But is this the whole true? Did Holly really find her family?

Of course while reading I was guessing, and you will be too, for sure, whirring your mind trying to string the facts together.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Taggart on 20 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
Having read all of the previous reviews which raved about this novel I feel I must be on a different planet to Harvey's usual readership. I wanted to like this book and dragged myself through it right to the end hoping that there would be some redeeming features- but alas not. In my opinion there was not one single character who seemed to be believable: the zany employer, the infantile boyfriend, the extremely abusive mother, neighbours who were psychic and "wannabe" reality TV stars or obscenely overweight and confined to their flat, the seedy "Irish", the orange Air Steward, hippy Iggy, callous adoptive mother....the list just goes on. All of these characters were caricatures and when placed into ludicrous situations and forced to interact with each other the whole plot became utterly ludicrous. I found it impossible to believe in any of these characters and as a result Harvey's weak attempt to address some very serious topics (parenting, child abuse, gender identity) failed miserably. The author does have a sense of humour so I wonder why he does not stick to comedy and slapstick and leave the moral issues, which he handles so badly, to a writer with greater awareness and sensitivity? To create a cast of shallow stereotypes, place them in absurd situations and force them to deal with serious issues, hoping the result is a coherent and insightful novel was never going to succeed. Sadly, a truly terrible mix which insulted the reader's intelligence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By F Keegan on 23 Sept. 2015
Format: Paperback
When Holly discovered she was adopted it led to a sense of relief for her , making sense of the feelings that she never really fitted in .
After the death of her adoptive parents and finishing a long term relationship Holly decides to seek out her birth mother . Discovering the house she was born in is up for rent she moves to Liverpool to start her journey of discovery . Meeting her landlady for the first time she senses that all is not what it seems and on discovering an old biscuit tin with a diary written by teenage Darren ,hidden under floorboards in her flat she starts to piece together what her life could have been.
Written in dual narrative between Holly and Darren, this novel flows beautifully . My heart went out to Darren growing up in troubled times in Liverpool and living with a mother who really didn't care much for her kids . This isn't just a novel about adoption as I first thought but covers much more sensitive issues that I don't want to go into for fear of spoiling this amazing read for anyone . Look out for Iggy , Holly's friend , he had to be my favourite character throughout ! Needless to say it gets a full 5 stars from me and if you haven't read it yet I would strongly urge you to do so .
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