Cover Image: Space Hopper

Space Hopper

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I will confess I had reservations when I started this book as whilst intrigued, I wasn't convinced that a novel about time travel was going to be my kind of book.  But those reservations were quickly blown away and this proved to be a beautifully written, quirky but emotionally engaging book, a story of love, loss and faith.

Faye is happily married with two daughters.  Now 36, she lost her mother when she was only 8 and it is a loss she has never entirely come to terms with.  When she has the opportunity to go back to the 1970s and see her mother and her younger self again, she finds herself torn between the chance to get to know her mother and risking her future with her husband and children.

As a child of the 70s this was a book filled with nostalgia for me, from the Space Hopper that I always wanted but never owned to the strap-on roller skates that i did have to the Smurfs figures. But the reason I loved this book was the emotions it invoked and the way in which Fisher's beautiful writing style and her use of the first person drew me into Faye's world.  However fantastical, I defy anyone not to reflect a little on what you would do if you found yourself in Faye's position. 

I loved it and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for something thought provoking and a little different - I certainly look forward to seeing what Fisher writes next.
Was this review helpful?
I was immediately drawn in by the conversational style of writing, it felt comfortable and enjoyable to read. Like I was chatting with an old friend.

My first thought was how Faye was doing what she was claiming to do? I was glad that my answer came quickly and surprised at the Alice in Wonderland feeling it gave me. I also wondered what she hoped to get out of the visits and how it would affect her family life. So many questions!

As I read, I couldn’t help but imagine myself in Faye’s shoes, the whole idea of travelling through time was captivating and really got my imagination going.

Louis was a standout character for me, I loved his humour and the way he seemed to put Faye at ease. Their scenes were fun to read and I enjoyed seeing Faye let go of the tension she was carrying.

Favourite Moments:

* A magical fall
* Twenty questions 
* The Turkish café
* An eventful beach goodbye

Space Hopper was a thought provoking and unique read with an incredibly twisty ending!
Was this review helpful?
I first read this book last year, but then the release date changed. When I was asked onto the blog tour, I was excited to read it again. I remember being so intrigued by the premise - I always get strangely giddy when an author does something unexpected or genre bending! On the second read I still had me the same sense of delight and wonder as Faye gets into her space hopper box and careers back into the 1970s. 

This is a story about taking a leap of faith
And believing the unbelievable
They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.
I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight.
And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.
Right now, you probably think I’m going mad. 
Let me explain…
Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?

This truly is a unique and original debut novel that mixes a heartfelt story about mothers and daughters, time travel, and the 1970s. I’m a child of the 1970s and though I never owned a space-hopper they were an instantly recognisable symbol of my childhood. The author takes these elements and brings us moments of intense delight - I was smiling to myself as Faye climbs into the ratty and tattered space-hopper box in the attic - but also a poignant and heart rending sense of loss. Faye has a photo of herself in the box, it was taken when she was six and it must have been taken by her mother, Jeanie. Although her Mum isn’t in this photo, everything about it tells her how much she was loved and how much was taken away from her. It’s Christmas and Faye remembers the decorations, the presents and can see the sense of wonder in her little face. She can also see the love, the trust and the sense that her Mum is her absolute world. Her presence in the photograph is so strong, even though we can’t see her. This photo is like a talisman for Faye, and the reader feels the strong emotional pull too.

Yet she doesn’t know her mum. There’s a moment, when adult Faye has hidden herself in the garden shed, and watches her mum open the back door and look down the garden. 

‘hands on hips looking straight down the short, narrow garden, straight at me in fact, and took in a long deep breath of cold air. She closed her eyes and smiled. She looked so content and I realised I knew nothing about this woman.’

It questions whether we can ever truly know our mother, even though the emotional bond is so incredibly strong. Faye wonders if, through time travel, she can get to know her mother on an adult-adult level, especially if her mother doesn’t know who she is. Although in a philosophical chat with her friends, they point out that Faye would always know she was Jeanie’s daughter and can only relate to her in that role. The question is, can she tell them what has happened to her? There are pros and cons to having this portal to her past. When she’s with her mother, she worries whether she’ll be able to get back to her husband Eddie and her own daughters Esther and Evie. She wants to be there for her daughters, so they don’t have the very same experience of loss that she had. Eddie is training to be a vicar, so he has a belief in God and the afterlife. Faye has no belief, and worries about where she’ll fit as a vicar’s wife without faith. Now can she ask Eddie to belief she’s found a portal back to her childhood in a ratty, space-hopper box that’s hiding in the attic? Every character is so loving and supportive of Faye, but I have to mention her friend Louis who happens to be blind. I liked the sense in which he takes a leap every single day into a world he can’t see and doesn’t always understand in the same way we do. He makes the point that his inner world is very different from the sighted person’s world, although sighted people always think he sees like they do. If you’ve never seen a cat, you can only go on the way it feels. There’s a brilliant example where he’s asked to draw a bus and he draws one vertical line, followed by three smaller horizontal lines. 
His experience of the bus is the vertical handle he holds to get on and three horizontal steps he climbs. Maybe Louis would understand the sense of different worlds? 

When working in my day job, I sometimes counsel people who are bereaved. We talk about grief in many different ways, but one of the most popular metaphors is the sea. It tends to come in and out in waves. On anniversaries it sweeps in and then recedes again. There are times when it stays far out of sight and others when it comes in so fast and strong it’s like a grief tsunami! If Faye returns, having got to know her Mum as Jeanie, will she grieve for her all over again? If she’s stuck back there, she will grieve for her family and friends in the present. I was deeply touched by a section where she talks about her childhood grief and needing to ask questions about her mother. 

‘ I searched my memory like it was a messy drawer, trying to find an image, some mental recording of a conversation, something to explain exactly why I’d felt so alone in dealing with losing my mum, when Em and Henry had been so supportive, so caring, in every other way. I could see Henry’s face in a memory so coated with dust I could barely picture it. It was his face with a worried look, glancing over at Em as I asked her a question or said something about my mother. What would it have been? ‘I miss my mother. I want to see my mother again. Do you think my mother was happy?’ I had seen those looks of his, and I’d filed them away. I hadn’t thought about it, but I realised what they were: he didn’t want me to upset his wife Em.’

So, in order to avoid upsetting Em she’d kept her questions and her grief to herself. My heart broke for this little girl so alone in her loss. However, despite being deep and poignant, the author has found a way of making the novel fantastical, quirky and even humorous. It’s suffused with love and joy. I’m so impressed with this magical debut, it absolutely charmed me from beginning to end. 

Appearing as part of the blog tour this February.
Was this review helpful?
*BIG thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for approving me for this title!*

I was very intrigued when I first read the synopsis to this book as the combination of the science fiction elements with more contemporary themes is something that I have never come across before. However, when I got into reading the book itself, I was not as convinced. The plot is pretty whacky and logistically does not make all that much sense. I understand time travel itself is not something that can be explained really because it is impossible but, the plot here didn't feel plausible at all really. I don't really want to spoil anything but the big reveal towards the end of the book is heartbreaking but also, very confusing. Furthermore, the tone of the book is quite unusual and felt a little on the childish side as it is written in a journal format. Once I got used to this, it didn't bother me too much but, it did take some time. I enjoyed the little references in the writing though, including Great Expectation's references and one to Rebecca, two book which I read in January. It was a weird coincidence that they were mentioned in here as well. A Tunnock's Caramel biscuit also gets a brief mention which is one of my favourite biscuits ever so, I appreciated that too, as trivial as it may be. 

I have conflicting opinions about the characters in this book. I can't say that I felt particularly attached to Faye or her husband and children. We are also told that she has two best friends who are practically like sisters to her yet, we don't see a lot of them at all so, that was pretty unconvincing. I liked the characterisation of Faye's mother but, we didn't see that much of her and I felt that it could have been developed a lot further. She is described as being quite hippy and free spirited, I would have loved to see more of that. However, I really enjoyed the inclusion of Elizabeth, a woman from the past and present as, even though we only saw her briefly, she was a voice of reason and had an important dose of realism for our main character. I also really liked the character of Louis, a blind character in the story who seems to actually be Faye's best friend, despite the writing stating otherwise. He was such a great character, sarcastic, witty and called people out when they were treating him differently because of his disability. I LOVED the exchange between Louis and Elizabeth. I am a little conflicted by the representation here as, at some points I thought it was good but then at other times I felt a bit of ableism coming through. I can't really comment on the accuracy of the depiction and I'm unaware of details of the author's biography but, there were some moments that I found myself asking, is that okay to say? is that right? Just something to bare in mind. 

I've basically told you a lot of reasons why I didn't like this book so far: the plot isn't particularly convincing and I didn't love the characters. HOWEVER, I can't get this book out of my head. The main reason for that is the commentary on faith that we have running through it. Initially, with Eddie, Faye's husband, on a journey to becoming a priest, I thought this was going to become a little preachy, arguing for complete faith in religion. Yet, the discussion was much more complex than that. Space Hopper acknowledges the idea that faith comes in so many different forms, whether that be in god or time travel, and belief in anything, no matter what it is, can really help people through their life. It is this that I keep coming back to and the reason that I keep talking to everyone (everyone being the limited people of contact I can actually have with people at the minute) about this book. The rating I have gone for may then surprise you but, I do think it deserves it. 

 3 stars! . It's one that I think is going to be very hit or miss for people. However, I keep thinking about it and I wanted the rating to show that.
Was this review helpful?
This book is about faith, faith in love, in magic, in family and in things beyond our sight. This book is like a warm cosy blanket that was so needed.

I began reading this book on a snowy day with a hot coffee and I could not move afterwards. Such a captivating book, hats of to Helen for this being her first book and for never giving up and getting this beauty published.

Faye as a character is so inspiring, she is strong and she believes in love and is honest in her battle of faith in more ways than one, in faith of a higher being, in faith of the unknown that we have all battled with at some point in our lives. She has such a strong family around her the deep connection that she has with her husband Eddie just adds to the magic of this story.

With an ending that I was not expecting at all but absolutely perfect and fitting for the story and the characters. I hope Helen continues to bless this World with her writing
Was this review helpful?
I mean wow .... just WOW.

I will admit this was a total cover request for me. I saw the bright skates and thought yes I need to have that it looks likes it gonna be a YA contemporary and boy was I wrong!!

Although this book is a contemporary adult fiction with time travel elements, something I haven't read much of in the past I thought this was absolutely beautifully crafted! I cant believe how much of a gut punch some of this was, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Every detail seemed to serve a purpose in this outstanding tale of love, loss, friendship and everything in between and it could quite possibly by my favourite book of 2021 so far!
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to Simon and Schuster U.K. for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Space Hopper’ by Helen Fisher in exchange for an honest review.

“They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect. ... I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight. And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.”

I began reading this novel with little foreknowledge of its whimsical plot. Faye has a happy life with husband Eddie, who is training to enter the clergy, and their two daughters. Yet she has always deeply felt the loss of her mother. 

One day while storing the Space Hopper box that she had preserved from her childhood, she steps into it and whoosh.....after an Alice in Wonderland-like descent she is back in her living room under the Christmas tree in 1977, some thirty years previously. She manages to avoid being caught, though later engineers a meeting with her mother and younger self. I won’t say more in order to avoid spoilers, but the narrative takes a number of interesting turns.

Helen Fisher’s debut was beautifully written and sensitively addressed a range of issues including aspects of faith, both personal and spiritual, love, grief and loss as well as various time travel theories. In addition, Faye works for the R.N.I.B., the British charity that assists the blind and partially sighted, and through this and Louis, Faye’s friend who has been blind since birth, she explores issues linked to blindness and ableism. 

This is an extraordinary novel that provides a great deal of scope for discussion making it an excellent choice for reading groups that are looking for something different.
Was this review helpful?
I am struggling to find the words for this review. This book spoke to me in ways I was NOT expecting, but the emotions I feel upon finishing are difficult to process.
When I first started it, I knew this book was going to break my heart but also fulfil it. It is worth pointing out that I had no prior expectations or knowledge about this book but thought I would give it a try. This week my family has just 'celebrated' my mother's birthday, as well as the 17 year anniversary of her death, and I was unsure whether this was something I should be reading whilst my emotions are so raw. Having finished it, I am so glad I read it during this time. It helped me through the grief and whilst some readers were frustrated by Faye's decisions to continuously go back and visit her mother, I championed it throughout. If I was ever given the chance to visit my mother, I would not hesitate to do it, even though I am happily engaged at present and planning my future. 
My only frustration lay with Faye's concealing of her activities to her husband Eddie, as I had no doubt he would fully support her.
The ending was spectacular, and my heart broke and soared simultaneously. Helen Fisher, you have a real talent for beautiful writing and wonderfully  emotional stories.  
Stunning read.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately this was a DNF at 31%

I didn’t like main character Faye enough to continue and found that the premise of time travel may not be for me. 

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book but I was left quite perplexed at what the end goal would be.
Was this review helpful?
I was completely and utterly hooked by the end of the first chapter.

Faye is happily married, and has a seemingly picture-perfect life. But she's never quite recovered from losing her mum at the age of seven. After she stumbles across a Space Hopper box in the attic, her life is turned upside down -- and she's given the chance she never thought would be possible: she's been taken to 1977, and has been given the chance to reconnect with her mother. 

It was a gorgeous, heartfelt story about love, loss and faith - and the kind of read that it was just impossible to actually put down. I loved reading about how Faye developed as a character; how she managed to stay grounded in an otherwise out-of-this-world experience -- and how she navigated the difficult choices she had to make: how much of her life with her family is she willing to give up for another shot at a moment with her mum?
Was this review helpful?
I went into SPACE HOPPER without reading too many reviews so wasn’t sure what to expect. It starts off quite a mystery which pulled me in.  What was Faye doing and why wouldn’t her husband Eddie believe her?!! 😅 So yeah...I was eager to find out what was happening. Basically Faye has the chance to finally ask her mother, who died a long time ago, all the questions she has wanted to ask. I really enjoy stories like this where it jumps through time. This story was moving and emotional as at the heart of it is a strong mother/daughter relationship and figuring out how to let go of the past. I don’t want to say too much about it as it may give spoilers. 🤫 got me thinking about whether I would want to go back in time to meet family. I think I would if I had the opportunity even though it would obviously be emotional. Also this book got me feeling nostalgic for my childhood. I was surprised by the end....Overall I enjoyed it and it’s a solid debut. 👍

“Stop worrying about the future, and leave the past behind, live for now, enjoy what you have. Try not to hanker for things that are beyond reach.”
Was this review helpful?
A charming and quirky storyline. 

Faye finds a photograph of herself at a very young age. She’s sitting in a Space Hopper box. The box has travelled with Faye everywhere she’s been since she was a child and knew her entire history. When she takes the box up to the attic to put it out of reach from her two young daughters, who would love to cut it up, she accidentally breaks some glass and as she’s barefoot, decides to stand in the box until her husband, Eddie, can rescue her from cutting her feet. Except that isn’t what happens, Faye suddenly finds herself back in the 1970s standing in front of her mother and younger self. 

Faye’s disappointment has always been that her mother died when she was young. She died under mysterious circumstances. The couple who adopted her after the event never discussed the event, and Faye feels a massive hole inside her. Travelling back in time – thanks to the Space Hopper box – means that she can find out more about her mother and spend more time with her. However, there is one huge problem – she can’t tell Eddie about her experience. She’s terrified he will react badly to her news. 

Seldom have I listened to such a beautiful story. The narrator, Sophie Roberts, captures every tiny detail and keeps you the listener enraptured with Faye’s discovery that she can time-travel to visit her mother. 

The ending……..I’d love to discuss the ending with someone who read the book. It’s pure magic and well worth travelling with Faye just to reach it. A genuinely perfect book. Thank you to Helen Fisher for writing it and Sophie Roberts for narrating the story. 


Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of the book to review.
Was this review helpful?
Brimming with 70s nostalgia this is a brilliant book that poses the question, would you time travel to meet your late parent? Of course there are always consequences to these actions. Space Hopper is a brilliant, quirky read, full of love and loss.
Was this review helpful?
Where do I begin? How can I do this book justice? Before I write anything else all you really need to know is that you MUST read this book!
This is a marvellous nostalgic time travelling book that had me laughing, crying, sighing and frowning. I laughed because a lot of the events are funny, I cried because the central character Faye has never got over the death of her mother when she was just 8 years old, I sighed because of the profound and reflective comments often made by Eddie, Faye's husband, (as well as owner of the shop Serendipity, and Louis who is Faye's sightless friend), and I frowned because at times I really did need to puzzle over the logistics of travelling back to the past without altering events then or in the future which happen to be the present!
Given that I was born in 1970, this is the perfect book for reminiscing and I could identify with the metal roller skates attached to your shoes but I wasn't so lucky as Faye in that I never had a space hopper. Memory is a fascinating subject, how and what we remember and how details can change over time or be influenced by others.
One Christmas photo of herself as a child in 1977 is all it takes to spark a fantastical adventure for Faye, desperate to see and spend time with Jeanie, her Mum, and find a way to hold on to the love she felt as a child. A mother herself to Esther and Evie, Faye is faced with a real dilemma. After that first unexpected trip through time, does she risk her safety and the ability to return to the present day by going back again?
All Faye can remember is her Mum having a cold and then she was gone for good. Lucky to be taken in by middle-aged and childless neighbours Em and Henry (there are some brilliant references to The Wizard of Oz, a film I adored as a child), Faye seems desperate to understand what happened. It seems a huge risk in that she has such a doting husband in Eddie, but things are changing in the present day as Eddie is studying to be a vicar, and maybe Faye in trying to come to terms with a huge change in lifestyle, wants to cling to something very familiar and comforting.
I enjoyed the discussions between Faye and Eddie about God and faith (complements rather than intrudes on the plot) and found Faye's memories, the old ones and then the much newer ones, given her ability to see, speak with and touch her Mum again, tender, poignant and extremely emotional.
The build up to the very end completely captured my heart and my imagination and I LOVED it.
There isn't a single thing I didn't like about the book. I am simply envious that I do not have the skills that Helen Fisher clearly does, in creating a charmingly original and very readable journey through time for one woman.
I will NEVER see a carboard box in the same way again and I will definitely be watching where I tread!
Was this review helpful?
If you could speak to your mum, back when she was young, and have a real conversation with her. What would you ask her?

Ignore the impossibility of time travel, as you follow Faye on her visits with her (now deceased) mum. I really loved the premise of this book. It gave Faye the chance to find out more about her mum and herself as a child. And more importantly, all about her relationship with her mum. She missed out on all those important “preparing you for adult life” conversations, and it’s really affected her. And what’s worse is she hasn’t been able to grief the loss of her mum as it was shrouded in mystery. 

You really feel for her as she’s pulled between the important people in her life; husband Eddie and their daughters in her present, and mum in her past. I loved the moments with her mum, and her friend Louis (particularly the conversations about time travel!) I must admit I was trying to work out how this ends - but I didn’t really see that ending coming!!
Was this review helpful?
Where to begin with the concept of time travel? And if it's possible would you alter history and life's events? Faye lost her mother when she was 8 years old. What happened has always been a bit vague - she was taken in by older neighbours and enjoyed a happy childhood. Now in her 30s, happily married to Eddie and with two daughters, Faye finds herself falling back through time to the 1970s when she still lived with her loving mother. Adult Faye meets Jeanie and her younger self and they get on well. She finds one visit isn't enough, but the journey there and back takes its toll on her body, and it's having an effect on her relationship back in the present day. Will anyone believe her? This is a rollercoaster of emotions and the ending made me draw breath. You have to suspend disbelief and join Faye on her life changing journeys. Alongside this story the concept of faith is explored and parallels are drawn  that give pause for thought. A good read. #netgalley #spacehopper
Was this review helpful?
Completely original and a very different read.

Faye has a happy marriage and loves her family, but as her daughters approach the age she was when her own mother died, she thinks about her more. When a strange quirk of fate returns her to the seventies to meet her mum, there is so much she wants - and needs - to know, but what about her own children; will being in the past mean she can't also be in the present? Which family is more important to Faye, and can she make that decision?

There is no doubt that this is an excellent debut. It's different, it's quirky and it's well-written. However, it's not one for me - it's not the book I thought it was! I fell for the pre-publication day hype; described as 'general fiction' and with no mention of time travel, I honestly thought it would be one I would like. However, time travel / time slip / magic realism/fantasy just leave me cold. Had I realised what the book was about, I wouldn't have requested it, so there are no surprises that it was a struggle for me to read. My imagination just doesn't work with this genre but it is a good debut and I'm sure the author will go on to write more novels. Sadly, I have to give this one 3.5*.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
Very good. In parts so fun. Space Hopper - “Lies are like toes, where there’s one there are more close by.”
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately this book wasn’t for me.  I am so disappointed that I didn’t enjoy it after hearing so much about it.  I found it very wordy and over descriptive and confusing at times.  I’m guessing that time travel books just aren’t for me.
Was this review helpful?
I was so looking forward to read this book, seeing it popping all over Twitter and hearing such good things. I love the sound of it and even if it’s not something that I read regularly, in the past I enjoyed books with time trave in their plots and I was also truly captivated by the synopsis, really hoping for a story about “mothers, memories and moments that shape life”.

Sadly, very quickly I determined that I absolutely can’t get into the book. It was very, very wordy, with excessive descriptions of things that didn’t seem to have anything with the story itself, I felt like I am reading one very, very long monologue told by a person that simply can’t tell a story and spends all her time explaining, justifying, trying to paint herself in the best possible light, focused on herself only and it simply felt too forced. Faye was a very one – dimensional character and I missed some personality in her, some depth, some changes. 

The whole time travel thing I could buy – but the characters and their actions seemed simply too ridiculous and overdone and I found myself feeling more and more frustrated and impatient with the story that felt as if it was leading nowhere.

I didn’t finish the book. It was not one of the “exceptions” I was hoping for. I am truly sorry.
Was this review helpful?