She Is Not Invisible

By Marcus Sedgwick
Published on April 22nd 2014
Published by Roaring Brook Press
Source: Publisher
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.
Marcus Sedgwick, best known for his haunting, dark stories, takes a turn towards something a little more contemporary with She Is Not Invisible.  This is a different book than you would expect from Sedgwick, but although it lacks the sinister edge of something like Midwinterblood, he still brings a very bright, literary streak to this one, with just a hint of something magical.

While the book took some suspension of disbelief, it was a very enjoyable read, and I loved Laureth and Benjamin.  Their relationship is very sweet, and they both look after each other in the best of ways.  They have to work together to try to unravel the mystery of where their father went, and it takes a lot of teamwork and help in unexpected places. Both of them felt very true to their ages, which was refreshing. Laureth makes some dumb, impulsive decisions that you would expect of a teenager, and Benjamin is a very convincing seven year old, just precocious enough without being unrealistic.

I loved the fact that Laureth was blind, and was never treated as "other" or "less than" just because of her disability.  I felt like Sedgwick wrote about her blindness in a very real, respectful way, showing the difficulties she faced and the way that she dealt with the way other people treat her, but also showing how she's conquered these things to become her own person, not defined by her blindness.

I did feel like the last few chapters were just a rush to wrap everything up, however, and I had hoped for maybe a little more complex of a solution than we actually got.  Compared to the rest of the book, I felt like the ending was just a little too easy, so it was a bit of a let down.  I do feel like maybe this book is one where there's more to it than meets the eye, though, especially given its thematic focus on coincidences.  I'd be interested to read it again and see if there's a little more depth in some places than I first thought.

If you've been wary of checking out Sedgwick's work previously because you think it may be too dark, this would be a good one to start with, as despite the mystery, it's not nearly as dark as his other works.

(As an aside, I really loved the UK cover for this one. It's just simple artwork, but I like it way more than this. Whenever I was over in London last year, I spent a good bit of time in bookstores, and I couldn't help but notice how much I prefer the UK covers to the ones we often get here in the US, and this one is no exception.)

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