Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Category: Young Adult
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: 4-22-14
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.
When I picked up She Is Not Invisible, I was interested to read how effectively an author could explore a story without relying on sight descriptions. Laureth is blind, and while it does not hold her back from a fairly normal teenage life, it does limit her ability to travel and move around as a sighted person would. When she becomes convinced that her father is in danger, she hatches a plan that means kidnapping her brother and flying to America. As they travel to New York, I really got a sense of how much of a risk it was for Laureth to try to pull this off. She relied on her 7 year old brother, who was totally unaware that he was being kidnapped, to be her eyes. In order to evade detection, she had to appear as if she was not blind. This put some really interesting tension in the story, because as they were trying to unravel the mystery of their father, they were also trying to stay hidden from the authorities. Throughout the story, I got a good sense of the things that Laureth must deal with; the insensitive comments and prejudices due to her visual impairments made me understand why she went to such great lengths to hide her blindness.
In her journey to find her dad, Laureth meets a host of quirky and interesting characters. Since she could only describe them by personality and voice, it was interesting how different it was to read about a character without any physical description of the person. I found that it effectively pulled me into the book because you were forced to strip people down to only what Laureth experienced while interacting with them, not by how they looked or dressed. On that same vein, it was interesting experiencing a city, like New York, through someone who could not see it. Laureth’s father, who we really don’t know outside of Laureth’s own narration, is obsessed with the idea of coincidence. Laureth’s fear that the obsession has overtaken his mind was the catalyst for this crazy trip. Throughout the book, there are little signs and stories that feed into the idea that coincidence might have meaning and that things are tied together for a reason. That idea and the little signs that Laureth and Benjamin find, feed into the mystery and create a wonderfully suspenseful atmosphere. She Is Not Invisible was an entertaining and adventurous book, with mystery, complicated family dynamics, and characters that I enjoyed knowing.
I received this ARC in exchange for my honest review.