She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick – Book Review

She is Not invisible - Marcus SedgwickI suppose you could say that I kind of grew up with Marcus Sedgwick. Sort of. I was sixteen when I first read one of his novels, and I instantly fell in love with his unique gothic take on the world. I also loved how he took something well known or popular, and give the concept, be it fantasy, zombies, love even, and turn everything on its head and reinvent them into something original and fresh. Up until this release, it seemed that Sedgwick had taken a break from YA writing, and instead focused more on his younger series, but when She is not Invisible was announced, I was instantly glued to my computer screen, scrambling to find out more.

I was slightly taken aback when I discovered that this release would stray from his usual gothic setting, and instead feature the real world without any sense of anything fantastical. But I should have known that no matter what Marcus Sedgwick writes about, there are always bound to be twists and turns, all with different layers of meaning. She is not Invisible definitely contains some of these different layers, each with their own amount of intrigue.

Laureth Peak is worried when she receives an email from someone who claims to have her father’s notebook in their possession. Especially as the notebook was found in New York and her Father is supposed to be in Austria, or Switzerland – she’s not quite sure. When her mother doesn’t seem to care that Jack Peak can’t be reached, Laureth decides to take matters in to her own hands and sets off on a mission to discover the truth about her father’s disappearance. Accompanied by her much younger brother, Benjamin, Laureth soon discovers that she has been dragged into her writer father’s obsession with coincidence. But she also realises that she must rely on her brother more than ever, as Laureth is blind.

She is not Invisible is an interesting one, a book that focuses more on its central character rather than plot. Laureth is actually a fantastic character – full of charm, sarcastic at times, headstrong even though she denies. She is one determined young woman, and her worry for her father’s well-being is emotional, understandable and commendable. Laureth is perhaps the biggest reason why this novel, Sedgwick’s thirteenth full length novel, is so successful. And as she is blind, therefore as a reader, we are sort of blind too, which makes Sedgwick’s inclusion of racism later on in the book even more profound – I for one did not see that revelation coming, and I think it hits home harder and more successfully as a result.

As she’s blind, Sedgwick does a fantastic job at getting into the mindset of someone Marcus_Sedgwickwho has this disability, and actually conveys detail much more extraordinarily as a result. Laureth can’t tell if something is blue, or green, but what she can portray is emotion through sound and experience. And to actually see the world as Laureth does is a unique and enjoyable experience indeed. I found myself whizzing through this book as it is so readable. Even the portrayal of Benjamin, Laureth’s seven year old brother, is wonderful. He really does help his sister, and their sibling relationship is heart-warming.

I thought the little sections of Laureth’s father’s notebook were interesting too, and really helped with the understanding of coincidence and science. Despite not really featuring in the book physically, Jack Peak’s voice still comes across strong through his notes. His research into Edgar Allen Poe and other scientists as they tried to find an explanation behind coincidences was actually extremely captivating and really made you, the reader, think more about your own opinions on the subject. Are they part of a rule by which the universe follows inexplicably, perhaps God plays a hand, rolling a dice to see what comes up?

I have to admit that this Sedgwick novel will stick with me for months to come, as it works on so many deeper levels and gets you thinking about your own life and what things come your way. I was however, a little disappointed with the length of the book. It is an extremely quick read, I only wish it was a tad bit longer. I also found the ending a little anticlimatic, as to why her father was missing. If the ending had been drawn out a little more, explained in full, then perhaps it may have worked a little better, but as the whole Laureth’s father missing story arc only served as the cause to motivate Laureth to board a plane, then I guess why he was ‘missing’ didn’t really matter. It was more about the journey and the encounters she made along the way.

On the whole, She is not Invisible is a brilliant novel, one that sees a different side of Sedgwick, a more contemplative side, and actually delivers more emotion and cause for thought than any other of his novels. The little interactive parts, seeing how many times he slotted the number 354 into the story for example, was interesting and fun and actually, I feel if you were to read this novel a second time, you’d pick out sections you completely missed the first time round. It is a short read, extremely short some may say, but if you love warming characters, and something a little more original and subtle, then a novel about a blind teenager who ‘abducts’ her younger brother in search of coincidences, then you can’t go far wrong with this.

Star Base - 4

She is not Invisible is available in hardback from:

Amazon UK / The Book Depository

She is not Invisible is available in eBook from:

Amazon UK / Amazon US & AUS

Marcus Sedgwick’s Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


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