I am a huge fan of Marcus Sedgwick, and was delighted to review his new book She Is Not Invisible for LoveReading4Kids. Marcus Sedgwick has written many wonderfully atmospheric YA novels such as My Swordhand is Singing, Kiss of Death and Midwinterblood (which was recently awarded a Printz honour), a dystopian graphic novel (Dark Satanic Mills) with his brother Julian, and the hilarious and spooky Raven Mysteries for younger readers. I was lucky enough to meet Marcus Sedgwick at the Mountains to Sea Book Festival in 2012 and he was lovely. I loved this book, and am looking forward to reading more of his work soon.
Publisher: Indigo (Orion Books) 2013
Age Group: 12+/YA
“One final time I told myself I wasn’t abducting my little brother.”
From the very first sentence I knew this was going to be a special book. As far as Laureth knows, her father is in Europe researching his new book. When his notebook turns up in New York, and she can’t contact him, she knows something has gone wrong. Her mother ignores her worries but Laureth knows she must take action to find her father. However, Laureth can’t go alone. She is blind, and will need her brother’s help if she is to make this journey. And so Laureth, Benjamin and his stuffed raven named Stan cross the Atlantic, on a seemingly impossible mission.
At one point in the novel, Laureth complains about the representation of the visually impaired in popular culture. This is not a mistake Sedgwick makes. Laureth is sensitively written and the reader is reminded of her condition throughout the book, whether it is in relation to phrases to do with colour like “grey area” or “Black Book”, or her difficulties in navigating new spaces. Sedgwick worked with students at New College Worcester (the UK’s only dedicated school for the blind) and the result is a strong character who is not defined by her disability.
The title of this book says it all – Laureth is far from invisible. While the reader is made very aware of her blindness and how it affects her life, the lasting impression of Laureth is that she is courageous, resourceful and active. She is a memorable protagonist – her strength in going to search for her father, and trying to keep the true seriousness of the situation from her brother is incredible. Throughout the book we see different character’s reactions to Laureth. She says “I don’t mind being blind. What I mind is people treating me as if I’m stupid.”
The notebook pages are an interesting addition, and as they are revealed bit by bit, we like Laureth and Benjamin, gradually undercover the mystery. The notebooks offer a fascinating exploration of coincidence. This, combined with the sensitive treatment of Laureth’s character, and a compelling mystery/thriller plot makes for a very interesting book. A must read, that fans of Sedgwick will enjoy!
Reviewed for LoveReading4Kids – check out what the other reviewers thought of She Is Not Invisible here.