She Is Not Invisible
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: April 22nd 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 Children’s Publishing Group for review-
Last year I read Marcus Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood and while I wasn’t the biggest fan of the way the story unfolded I was a fast fan of the writing. Upon seeing that he had a more contemporary tale coming out this year I was anxious to get my hands on it. While She Is Not Invisible isn’t the most action packed novel I have ever read it is incredibly thought provoking and a story that I just could not put down.
We meet Laureth Peak as she is trudging through a London airport with her younger brother and his stuffed raven, Stan. She is trying to convince herself that she is doing the right thing and that she is not abducting her younger sibling. Through some well done flashbacks we see that Laureth was given reason to believe that something bad had happened to her father when she received an email from someone in New York saying that they had her father’s precious notebook. We also come to learn that Laureth is blind. My first impression of her was that she was pretty thoughtless and impulsive, I mean immediately booking two tickets to fly across the world and find your father when you have no actual idea where he really is isn’t the best, most thought out idea in the world. Not only that, but she pulled her younger brother who was 7 years old into everything because she knew that due to her impairment she wouldn’t be able to pull the trip off herself.
Once Laureth and her brother, Benjamin, arrive in the States things start to hit her fast and hard. She realizes that she is very much in over her head and she starts to get worried. This is where I started to ease into the story and come to like Laureth. For 95% of the story I really had no idea where things were going or what was going to come at the two siblings on this journey of theirs but that didn’t bother me because I was completely engaged in everything. We get to read through Laureth’s father’s notebook as they travel in cabs and rest and I loved what he was writing about. See, before he went “missing” Mr. Peak was researching (for years upon years upon years) the true meaning of synchronicity, or coincidence. This part of the story isn’t usually something that I would like and I fully expected to be bored by the lecture-like style of it but I found it utterly fascinating. The idea that a coincidence can seem so magical to someone because of the tingles up the spine feeling they get, but how that feeling just can’t be conveyed effectively to another person. Also, the idea that maybe a coincidence isn’t that much of a coincidence when you narrow things down and start doing the math. I think the reason I found this so interesting is because I find myself saying “what are the odds of that?” far too often in my real life.
Another exciting part of the story was reading it from the perspective of someone who is blind. I’ve never read anything like it and I loved how strong Laureth had become. I mean her and Benjamin had a system worked out for walking that convinced people that she was leading him rather than the other way around. The way that she embraced her impairment and made the best of it was great, not to mention how she rose above the discrimination that she faces in multiple situations. This book doesn’t exactly have a break neck pace, and there aren’t really any shocking twists to be found but it is a novel with great character development and one that makes you think. I read this book in a single sitting because I just loved seeing everything come together. I don’t think this is one that will be for everyone but I think if you are looking for something a little different, that this is a great place to look.