Book Reviews: ‘She is Not Invisible’, Marcus Sedgwick
She is Not Invisible
by Marcus Sedgwick Published by Indigo
on 3 October 2013 Format:
Laureth Peak's father is a writer. For years he's been trying, and failing, to write a novel about coincidence. His wife thinks he's obsessed, Laureth thinks he's on the verge of a breakdown. He's supposed to be doing research in Europe, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong.
On impulse she steals her mother's credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her. Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old. Because Laureth Peak is blind.
AMBER AGE 10, REVIEWS
Star rating: * * * * 4 out of 5
‘She is Not Invisible’ is Marcus Sedgwick’s latest book. The story is about a 16-year-old girl called Laureth Peak whose father goes missing. She embarks on a gripping journey all the way over to New York, along with her 7-year-old brother, Benjamin Peak. But Laureth has a disadvantage that most people don’t. For Laureth Peak …is blind.
My favourite part was when Benjamin crashed (broke) all of the TV screens on the airplane.
The only part which I thought was kind of boring was where there were pages and pages of Laureth’s dad’s notebook in the book. They were all about chemistry and coincidences and famous people who were obsessed with a particular number and coincidence and who committed suicide, which was rather confusing to read.
I think the author’s idea was very original as I have never heard of any book at all like this one. Also, I liked the author’s idea of the ‘Benjamin thing’ where Laureth’s brother, Benjamin, can’t touch anything to do with machinery, technology or electricity otherwise he has a very good possibility of breaking it somehow.
I liked the fact that Laureth’s dad got her name from a soap bottle, that I thought was pretty funny.
RACHEL HAMILTON REVIEWS
Star rating: * * * * * * 6 out of 5
I knew I would love this book, even before I opened the cover. Coincidences intrigue me. So do first person narrators with unique perspectives. Plus, I am an unashamed MarcusSedgwickaholic and marvel at his ability to put exactly the right word in exactly the right place to transport me to a different world.
For anyone thinking Marcus Sedgwick is all about the eerie atmospheres and gothic undertones, She is Not Invisible demonstrates the flexibility of his talent. He is equally at ease among the bustle, brilliance and general bonkersness of New York City. Perhaps because Laureth, the 16 year-old narrator, is blind and her story is conveyed through her other senses, She is Not Invisible gives a powerful, and at times overwhelming, sense of the heat and the smell and the general LOUDNESS of the city.
The mystery/adventure element is well-plotted and inventive. The action is triggered when Laureth’s novelist father, Jack Peak, loses his beloved black book in Queen’s, New York, when he’s supposed to be in Switzerland. The notebook offers clues that prompt Laureth to set off across the Atlantic in an attempt to figure out what has happened to her elusive father, taking her gifted seven year-old (“Seeing Eye”) brother and his stuffed raven, Stan, along for the ride.
Jack Peak’s black book is more than just a handy plot device. It offers a fascinating exploration of the nature of coincidence. So much so that I found myself scribbling quotes into my own notebooks and heading to the computer to find out more about Benford’s Law and Apophenia. I appreciate this kind of stuff isn’t for everyone, particularly younger readers, but that’s what I love about Marcus Sedgwick. He is described as a children’s writer, yet his books are deep, complex and often require a lot of thought and attention. Well, good. So do the best kind of children.
Speaking of the best kind of children, the star of this book is its narrator, Laureth (named after a chemical (Sodium Laureth Sulphate) on a shampoo bottle, because her father found the word beautiful). She is bright, brave and resourceful, and criticises the way blind characters are portrayed in books and films as either “pathetic helpless figures of woe” or “superheroes. Like Daredevil,” whose blindness simply serves to enhance their other senses.
Laureth is neither a sad case nor a superhero. She has her struggles – “I learned to do a thousand things to help sighted people simply talk to me”; and she has her superhuman moments – smashing the lightbulbs and sending her brother to safety so she can take on the ‘bad guys’. But she is always real and always compelling. She is a character I suspect will stay in my mind long after other details of the story have lost their focus.
The thing about books is this: they can take a while to read and there are lots of them. So sometimes it’s hard to know which one to pick up and read. Let me help you. This one.