Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

Friday, December 20, 2013
Title: She is Not Invisible
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Genre: young adult, contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 216 (print ARC edition)
Published: expected April 2014
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: 4/5

Laureth Peak's father is a writer. For years he's been trying, and failing, to write a novel about coincidence. His wife thinks he's obsessed, Laureth thinks he's on the verge of a breakdown.He's supposed to be doing research in Austria, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong.

On impulse she steals her mother's credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her. Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old. Because Laureth Peak is blind.

Marcus Sedgwick has steadily been making a name for himself in the publishing world in 2013. Earlier this year I heard whispers about how amazing Midwinterblood was, and, lo and behold, less than half a year later another unique tale from this talented writer is being prepped to be sent into the world. For once, the hype around an author and his books was right. This is an author can write compelling, unique, and thoroughly fascinating stories, and he does so here easily, subtly with 16 year-old Laureth Peak.

Laureth's story is fresh and compelling, and not only for her minority-narrator status. For while Laureth is has never seen anything with her eyes, the sum of her characterization is not that she is a blind person. She is a fully-formed and wholly rounded person who happens to be blind. The way she was born doesn't define who she is -- to herself, or to her family. The wider world, full of "funny" people may choose to reduce all she is down to a condition, but Laureth is so much more than that. I can say I have never read another narrator like Laureth and the sly focus on what she could hear, or smell or sense, rather than view, just reinforces the authenticity of her narration.

She Is Not Invisible is a strong, memorable novel for many reasons: characters, writing, setting. The plot at the heart of the story may end up as the weakest aspect of the novel, and if the worst you can say about it is that it may stretch suspension of disbelief a little too far.. well, that's a remarkably solid novel. And She Is Not Invisible is just that. The plot resembles an odd mishmash of The Number 23 and Wait Until Dark, but under this author's hands, it feels wholly original. Sedgwick may try a little too hard to get his messages across, which can detract from the narrative.

She Is Not Invisible manages to pack a lot of story into a relatively short page length. It's half a blessing that the novel is so short -- it's practically impossible to put down. Laureth's story, her unique struggles, the use of a minority narrator -- all make Marcus Sedgwick's latest novel something to be celebrated. The bit side characters, like Michael Walker, add in some need humor and silliness, but the heart of the novel is about family, and bonds, and love. It's an odd little book, but it really is a gem in the YA contemporary/thriller field.

1 comment:

  1. I loooooooooove Marcus Sedgwick. I'm slowly growing a small collection of his books and not a single one has disappointed me so far. I've read four so far and they've all gotten 5 stars.

    I totally love that you brought up The Number 23, because Laureth's father's obsession DEFINITELY reminded me of that movie. It kind of makes me want to watch it again.

    Sedgwick's book definitely all come with a message and sometimes it can get pretty heavy handed. But I love and appreciate that all his books try to SAY something. If you want to read something else by him, I SO recommend White Crow.


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