Book Review: She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick
Back Cover Blurb: Laureth Peak can spot the seemingly impossible recurring events, patterns, and numbers in the world around her. The secret to her remarkable talent: she is blind.
When her father is away on a trip researching his next book, Laureth receives an e-mail that indicates something horrible may have happened to him. So Laureth grabs her 7-year-old brother and the two of them take a plane from England to New York City to follow the trail of clues. Their journey takes them into the mind of their father, who is researching some very deep philosophy and psychology that may, in fact, lead them to the heart of a great conspiracy. Or maybe it’s all a coincidence.
She is Not Invisible may be the first book I have read with a blind protagonist and it was fascinating to see how she moved through her world and to get those glimpses into how the world responded to her. I was very impressed with her bravery in choosing to travel to another country, especially considering that she is blind. Laureth was strong and resourceful and yet you see glimpses into her fear and doubts. She was a great character and seeing her POV was the most fascinating part of the story for me.
As Laureth tries to find her father, she uses his journal full of book research to trace his steps on the last few days in New York City. Here, readers are taken into some very deep discussions about the nature of coincidence, lots of math and philosophy facts, and even into the mind of Edgar Allan Poe. This part of the story was very complex and interesting, though I did wonder how teens would respond because I found it very challenging to follow. The underlying discussion, however, is very fascinating and mind blowing. And it is so thrilling to see how these questions can underly even the most mundane seeming moments of life.
I loved the brother/sister relationship; it very much reminded me of the classic From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. These two books in companion with Under the Egg make a great set of mysteries about exploring New York City. I can see pairing them with a movie/book discussion including A Night at the Museum (sorry but I really enjoy this movie).
Booklist gives it a starred review saying, “This fast-paced thriller delivers a compelling mystery, thought-provoking questions about existence, and brilliantly lifelike characters.” (Booklist, February 2014). It also received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews.
Some other titles that include visually challenged characters include Girl, Stolen by April Henry, Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements and Truesight by David Stahler.
Highly recommended. Coming in April 2014 from Roaring Brook Press. ISBN: 978-1-59643-801-9. 224 pages.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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