Invisible Emmie: Emmie & Friends, Book 1

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Invisible Emmie: Emmie & Friends, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Texting drama helps an insecure and popular girl connect.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows how one situation can seem very different depending on your perspective. Portrays symptoms of anxiety and a few techniques for coping.

Positive Messages

Standing up for someone -- yourself or others -- takes great courage and can have great impact. Making a joke about an embarrassing moment can effectively lessen the sting. If you don't take chances and reach out, you can't connect with others and make friends.

Positive Role Models

Emmie learns how to roll with the flow in school and not let her self-consciousness govern how she interacts with others. She starts to speak up for herself and be open to genuinely connecting with other people. Brianna is empathetic and has the courage to sincerely apologize when she's selfish. Katie acknowledges she's lucky, but she also works hard by studying, practicing, and taking care of herself. Emmie has a comfortable relationship with her family, though she feels a little lonely. She knows her mother will be receptive to hearing about her long, difficult day and how she handled it.

Violence & Scariness

Student texts classmates to humiliate a student. Classmates snicker at another student.


Kid calls another a "jerk."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Invisible Emmie is a graphic novel about two very different middle-school girls: one self-conscious and insecure, the other confident and popular. Emmie feels left out at home (she's an "oops baby") and at school (she describes herself as quiet, awkward, and "flat as a pancake"). Emmie is targeted by a bully who shares a note Emmie meant to be private, making for a horrible day at school. Meanwhile, popular Katie is increasingly distressed over how Emmie is being treated -- and finds herself feeling more isolated as the day goes on. A surprising twist reveals that the two girls have more in common than anyone might expect. It's the first novel by Terri Libenson, best known for her comic strip The Pajama Diaries. And it's the first in the Emmie & Friends series. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written bySarah D. March 8, 2018

just "meh." Not educational. Maybe entertaining?

I read a few sections of this book over my 8 year old's shoulder and found it to be inappropriate for her, not because it was violent or used poor language... Continue reading
Adult Written byMax371768 December 19, 2018

Why its 13 and up

The book doesn't have anything bad to make it to 13 and up but it is mostly about what a teen would be feeling in middle school and 4th and 5th graders wo... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 28, 2018

Cliche, but entertaining

This book was sold at the Scholastic Book Fair at my school. I don't usually read books that have that many pictures, but I thought the cover looked pretty... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byArianagrandefangirl July 10, 2019

Great book for middle school girls

This book is fine for girls younger than 11yrs but I don’t think they would be able to relate

What's the story?

INVISIBLE EMMIE follows two girls having very different experiences in seventh grade. Emmie describes herself as "quiet, skinny, and flat," and she feels invisible. Aside from her friend Brianna, no one seems to notice or care about her. Katie is smart, athletic, pretty, and popular -- it seems to come naturally for her, though she works hard to succeed on so many fronts. Katie's delighted when Tyler asks her out. Emmie has a secret crush on him, too, and she and Brianna jokingly write love letters to their crushes. A class bully finds Emmie's letter and shares it throughout the school, leaving Emmie squirming in the spotlight. Katie wants to help her out -- but Emmie wants to find her own voice.

Is it any good?

Cartoonist Terri Libenson gets to the heart of middle school anxieties with her keenly felt -- and funny -- debut novel about two unalike seventh-graders having an emotional roller coaster of a day. Libenson, who focuses on family life in her comic strip, The Pajama Diaries, shows a deep understanding of how painful middle school can be for insecure kids in Invisible Emmie.

Libenson presents Emmie's story with smaller, detailed art in muted colors surrounded by text but tells confident Katie's story with large comics-style panels, bold lines, and bright colors. Emmie is self-deprecatingly funny, and it's easy to root for her as she starts to shed her overly sensitive skin. Katie's storyline might seem unsettling to readers: As she admirably confronts the boys mocking Emmie, Katie feels ignored and cast aside. The surprise ending resolves this nicely, but the message about standing up to unkind behavior gets a little muddled.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Invisible Emmie finds her voice. What changes once she starts speaking up for herself?

  • Which character seems more realistic to you: Katie or Emmie? Why?

  • Have you ever found a sense of humor helpful when you felt uncomfortably in the spotlight?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and middle school stories

Themes & Topics

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