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Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

Friday, May 30, 2014

She Is Not Invisible
by Marcus Sedgwick

Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery
Paperback: 224 Pages
Publication: April 22, 2014
by Roaring Book Press


Laureth Peak's father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers--a skill at which she's remarkably talented. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.

◆ A copy was provided by Macmillan for review ◆

The premise of a teenage girl deciding to fly to another country to find her father instead of calling the police or talking to some other authority figure is questionable. Once you get past this part though, She Is Invisible is more than the story of a girl trying to reconnect with her father. It is about another way of viewing the world and the connections that people make with each other.

I like how the protagonist has a disability. It's not often that you see a blind protagonist. I enjoyed seeing the different adaptations that Laureth and her brother Benjamin have made so that she can more easily navigate daily life while acting as if she can see the world around her, as well as the various reactions that people make when they learn that she is visually impaired. Better yet, Laureth takes her disability as it is instead of making it out to be a huge handicap, which make sense considering how she's lived with it her entire life. The only time she really wishes for sight is when she has strong feelings of wanting to protect her little brother. Benjamin is absolutely adorable, and I love his relationship with Laureth. They make a fantastic brother-sister team. Another character I adore is the tween boy who addresses himself as a mister and talks in 19th-century style.

The story is told as if experienced through a bubble. We're in the story with Laureth navigating the streets of New York while reading pages from her father's notebook (with the help of her brother), but at the same time I felt disconnected from it all, creating the sense of possibility and disbelief at the same time. Part of this can be attributed to the incredulity of a teenage girl up and deciding to find her father herself instead of leaving it to authority figures—and taking her little brother with her. Another attribute is the magical realism, which totally made the story for me. In a story where coincidences play a large role, it makes sense that other magical happenings can occur, and it helps smooth over some instances where disbelief would overtake the magic of possibilities. I don't want to go into too much detail because of spoilers, but things like The Benjamin Effect and books seemingly falling from the sky are taken as they are without much inquiry.

At the same time, so much disbelief is suspended throughout the story that it's hard to come back to the real world from that. While events playing out as they do help Laureth and Benjaming arrive at a much-needed happy conclusion with their family, so many incredulous things happen that it's hard to get grounded back in the real world when the bubble finally pops and disbelief takes over. So much time is spent in Laureth's mind in this novel, however, her desire to continue believing in  possibilities causes the balance to teeter between the two dimensions. And I'm not sure what to believe anymore except that events play out in a way that allows everyone involved to find the resolution they need. I only wish that one more coincidence played out, and Laureth had the opportunity to run into the other person she wants to see at the end of the story.

She Is Not Invisible is a thought-provoking novel about the different kinds of people out there and how we influence each other, no matter how small a time we spend together. More importantly, it is about how we perceive the world and each other and how maintaining a narrow focus can lead us to form mistaken assumptions.

Additional Information
  • N/A

  • Description of suicides
  • Minor violence

3 comments on "Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick"
  1. The sibling bond sounds wonderful, and how much Laureth wants to protect him makes her sounds like a great character too. I do like that this kinda makes you think about how we all think about things. I'll have to keep this one in mind. Great review.

    1. It's a wonderful book. I hope you enjoy it, Jenea! :)

  2. LOVE that she's blind and still strong and love the sibling relationship!!

    Lovely review :)


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