The Sudden Appearance of Hope, by Claire North

Second paragraph of third chapter:

As memory of me faded, so did a part of myself. Whoever that Hope Arden is who laughs with her friends, smiles with her family, flirts with her lover, resents her boss, triumphs with her colleagues – she ceased to exist, and it has been surprising for me to discover just how little of me is left behind, when all that is stripped away.

I really liked both North’s previous books, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, whose protagonist is reborn again every time he dies and has the chance to re-live his life from the beginning, changing things he wishes he had changed, and Touch, whose central character can occupy the body of another simply by physical contact. In both books, a substantial part of the setting is that there is a whole sub-culture of individuals with the same trait, and the plot is driven in part by their internal dynamics.

Hope Arden, in The Sudden Appearance of Hope, is socially invisible; as soon as she finishes interacting with you, you forget her. If you meet her again, you think it’s the firt time. You won’t recognise her from her photographs. She grew into this alarming condition as a teenager; messages she writes endure, but the people she meets do not remember her. She exploits it to become a master thief; but her relationships can never last longer than a night with her lover of the moment.

At the same time, a new lifestyle app called Perfection is perniciously forcing its users to adopt its creators’ image of the perfectly fashionable human being. Hope and the makers of Perfection come into conflict – deliberately sought from both sides, even though neither has a clear idea of the other, leading to much conflict and confusion and excellent action. There is a lot of globe-trotting, which I see some readers objecting to, but I actually found the portrayal of Istanbul rather convincing (having been there myself recently) and felt she at least caught the spirit of the other locations. Really enjoyed it, as I did the previous two.

You can get it here.