She Is Not Invisible
By Marcus Sedgwick
Published 2014 by Roaring Brook Press
Laureth realizes that she has technically just kidnapped her little brother, but it was an emergency. Her dad is missing and her mother doesn't seem concerned so she realizes she must take drastic measures to make sure every member of her family is safe.
It took some convincing but I consider myself a fan of Sedgwick. Before I read him, I didn't think I'd enjoy him - none of his books really jumped out at me. But I picked one up because I thought I might meet him and I haven't really looked back since. I was thrilled to snag an ARC of his latest at ALA Midwinter. Though I didn't read it prior to publication, I pulled it out of my pile for the 48-Hour Book Challenge, as it fit the diversity theme quite nicely - Laureth is blind.
I really liked this book. I may have even loved it. I was instantly hooked on the story and compelled to keep reading as more details of Laureth's father's work emerged. This is a book about coincidence and whether or not it's as miraculous of a thing as we often think it to be. I loved the complexity of the arguments made in this book. I loved how brilliantly Sedgwick wove coincidence into his plot - you can't even fully comprehend it all until you reach the end of the story. If you are a person who does not enjoy plots that rely on coincidence, this is probably not the book for you. But really, those plot coincidences are there to prove a point and I think they succeed masterfully.
I enjoyed Laureth. The fact of her blindness is necessary for the plot development but I also loved the way she talked about being blind. It raised some questions that I might not have thought of otherwise, and I always appreciate when a book challenges my thinking.
I liked how Sedgwick developed the novel. It's rather slow-paced - not a ton of action really until the very end. However, I think he builds suspense brilliantly throughout the course of the book and not just around what might be happening to Laureth's father. There is the suspense of how far Laureth and her brother will make it in their quest, how Laureth will navigate a completely unfamiliar world without letting anyone know of her disability, and the suspense of Mr. Peak's research. I think it all works so well.
Admittedly, for all the complexity of the rest of the novel, the ending is a bit less so, but it doesn't diminish my enjoyment at all. I loved the how of the ending even if I didn't love the result. Anyone looking for a thought-provoking read should definitely pick this up.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.