She Is Not Invisible

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
She Is Not Invisible Book Poster Image
Smart mystery about blind girl searching for missing dad.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Introduces readers to a number of intellectuals, including Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud (and also to terms such as apophenia, "the thing we all have inside us ... to spot patterns"). The book introduces fun ideas about coincidence to play with. It also will help readers consider what it's like to operate in the world as a blind person.

Positive Messages

There are several positive messages here, including the importance of believing in the people you love (and telling them that you love them!). Also don't be afraid of your future and have faith in yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Laureth makes an impulsive and dangerous decision to take her brother from London to New York without telling her parents or anyone else, but she does have a good reason: She wants to find her dad. Her heart's in the right place always, and she shows particular patience when dealing with her 7-year-old brother. 

Violence

A man pulls a knife on Laureth, her brother, and a new friend -- causing their friend's older brother and his friends to beat the man up. Later, a man breaks into Laureth's hotel room and chases her around in an attempted robbery. Their father's mugged.  

Sex

A young man on a plane takes an interest in Laureth, until he realizes she is blind. Other men make suggestive remarks to her at a bar. 

Language

A few uses of words such as "ass," "crap," "damn." 

Consumerism

Laureth buys Cokes for her brother and her. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Laureth smells smoke on the clothes of one of the bad guys, who later strikes up a cigarette around her.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that She Is Not Invisible, by Michael L. Printz Award-winner Marcus Sedgwick (Midwinterblood), is about a blind girl who makes an impulsive and dangerous decision to take her 7-year-old brother from London to New York without permission. But Laureth has a good reason: wanting to find her dad. Her heart's in the right place always, and she shows particular patience when dealing with her brother. During their adventure, a man pulls a knife on Laureth, her brother ,and a new friend -- causing their friend's older brother and his friends to beat the man up. Later, a man breaks into Laureth's hotel room and chases her around in an attempted robbery. They learn that their father was mugged. Other than that, there are a few uses of words like ass, crap, damn, and Laureth smells smoke on the clothes of one of the bad guys, who later strikes up a cigarette around her. A young man on a plane takes an interest in Laureth, until he realizes she's blind, and other men make suggestive remarks to her at a bar. The book introduces readers to a number of intellectuals, including Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud (and also to terms such as apophenia, "the thing we all have inside us ... to spot patterns"). The books also encourages readers to consider what it's like to operate in the world as a blind person. In the end, Laureth learns to stop being so afraid for her own future, and to "have faith" in herself.

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What's the story?

When Laureth receives an email from a stranger in New York claiming to have found a notebook belonging to her father -- a famous writer -- the blind teen worries something's wrong. Her father isn't supposed to be in America, after all. So she wakes up her 7-year-old brother early one morning and flies with him from London, hoping to put together the pieces and find her father. He's been studying coincidence for a book he's struggled over for years, and as she learns more about his work -- pieces of which are included between chapters -- she begins to worry about his state of mind.

Is it any good?

Author Marcus Sedgwick has created a unique and well-constructed story. From the descriptions of how blind Laureth operates in the world ("I learned to turn my head towards whoever is speaking; I learned to hold my hand out to greet people ... I learned to do a thousand things to help sighted people simply talk to me.") to her father's research into theories about coincidences, SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE is a book that will get readers thinking and forming their own opinions about luck and fate.

Even after racing through the fast-paced, short mystery, fans will enjoy searching back through the book to see what instances of her father's special number (354) they can find cleverly embedded in the text. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it would be like to be blind. What surprised you about the way Laureth operates in the world?

  • Also, the author is playing with the idea of coincidence. Share your ideas: Do you believe that everything happens for a reason or is life more random than that?

  • Families may also want to review some of the famous thinkers mentioned here, such as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Why do you think the author chose to include so much detail about them?

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