Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Title: She Is Not Invisible
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: n/a
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Source: received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

Whew. Now that I've got my first Marcus Sedgwick under my belt, I feel like I can breathe a little. Except, from what I'm told, this isn't quite the dark fare he's known for. Actually the running joke in this story is that the MC's author-dad's earlier works were well-received as "funny" books, but his last few novels, which took a darker turn, were not nearly as well-liked. Coincidence? I think not.

That's an overall theme in this book, coincidence versus chance. Or as little Benjamin is fond of calling it, co-inky-dink. And after reading all of the possible coincidences or instances of chance in this story, I'm inclined to research it on my own a bit. That stuff is fascinating, especially when you consider the famous scientists and such who supposedly drove themselves mad over it. I honestly had no idea, but when you stop and think of it, even for a moment, it's enough to make you a little loopy, ya know? I can't even begin to wrap my head around it, let alone fathom the science and mathematics behind such a phenomenon.

And yet, I still want to. I know this is a work of fiction, but I saw the change it brought about in Laureth. And I know it was the act of striking out on her own to save her father, not the serendipity of everything that actually forged this change in her character, in her faith in herself, but it helped. Not that I thought her character was lacking...quite the opposite. Laureth is a blind sixteen-year-old girl who has essentially kidnapped her younger brother on her mission to find their father, and even though her actions are impulsive, she never seems immature or irresponsible...except maybe with her mother's credit card. Still, for a girl who needs her kid brother's help to navigate the world at large, she does a pretty great job at fooling most people into believing there's nothing wrong with her. And there isn't. I appreciated that Laureth genuinely seemed not to miss her sight, that the thing she dreaded most in life was being invisible.

I felt like Benjamin was a balm to the rashness of Laureth's character. He and Stan were adorable, and I thought that the voice given to the intellectual seven-year-old -- whose only friend seemed to be a stuffed raven named Stannous -- was spot-on. Ben was very clever and alert, but I believe that comes from his upbringing and from assisting his sister, but there were also moments when he seemed like your average seven-year-old boy, ready for a nap and a cuddle. I loved the relationship between Laureth and Ben, most especially when Laureth was "cross" and had to remind herself that Ben was just a little boy rather than taking out her frustration on him.

But back to the missing father and all the happenstance of the situation. This was the driving force in the story. There was no romance. There was no best friend to help solve the mystery. There was only Laureth and Ben and Stan and a few interesting acquaintances along the way. And the number 354. Can't forget that. That number was definitely a factor, if not a coincidence, that guided these kids' trek across the city in search of their possibly insane but definitely missing father.

I liked it. There were creepy bits and weird bits and bits where I just wanted to hug the characters and then there were those bits that just made me want to sit and ponder the matters of the universe till the end of my days. Needless to say, I'll definitely be picking up more of the author's work in the near future. And considering the crazy, whacked out ending I was anticipating -- which was a tad anti-climactic and far less involved than I was maybe hoping for -- I'm sure I'll find no issue with his darker, gothic stories. I'm looking forward to them, in fact. I found She Is Not Invisible to be quite clever and rather introspective, and though it wasn't at all what I was expecting from this story or the author, I enjoyed it immensely.

GIF it to me straight:
 I'm inclined to agree. Though the author has made me very keen to learn more on the matter.

About the Author:

Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of "The Heart of Another" - inspired by Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." Of his story, Sedgwick says, "This was one of those stories that I thought might be a novel originally but actually was much better suited to the tight form of the short story. I had the initial idea some years ago but was just waiting for the right ingredient to come along. Poe's story, as well as his own fascination with technique, provided that final piece of the puzzle."

He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children's Book Award 2002).

Find Marcus:

Website | BlogTwitter | Facebook | Tumblr | InstagramGoodreads


  1. Nice review, Jen! I really want to read this one too! =)

  2. This one looks really good. And fabulous review :)

  3. I haven't popped my Sedgwick cherry yet, but this one sounds like the perfect book to do so. Curious about coincidence vs. chance element.

    Great review, Jen.

  4. This looks like an intriguing story. I need to check out my copy. Lovely review, Jen!

    Kris @Imaginary Reads

  5. The gif is absolute perfection! I am so happy we read this and both loved it. I don't know why I worried that I'd have trouble connecting with the writing. It was beautifully done and I really fell in love with the characters. I'll be reading more of his work for sure. Wonderful review Jen!

  6. This sounds really interesting. I like creepy and weird. :)


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