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She Is Not Invisible

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The feeling that coincidences give us tells us they mean something... But what? What do they mean?

LAURETH PEAK'S father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers - a skill at which she's remarkably talented. When he goes missing while researching coincidence for a new book, Laureth and her younger brother fly from London to New York and must unravel a series of cryptic messages to find him. The complication: Laureth is blind. Reliant on her other senses and on her brother to survive, Laureth finds that rescuing her father will take all her skill at spotting the extraordinary, and sometimes dangerous, connections in a world full of darkness.

354 pages, Hardcover

First published October 3, 2013

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About the author

Marcus Sedgwick

98 books1,544 followers
Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of "The Heart of Another" - inspired by Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." Of his story, Sedgwick says, "This was one of those stories that I thought might be a novel originally but actually was much better suited to the tight form of the short story. I had the initial idea some years ago but was just waiting for the right ingredient to come along. Poe's story, as well as his own fascination with technique, provided that final piece of the puzzle."

He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children's Book Award 2002).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,070 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,946 reviews292k followers
November 15, 2013

I honestly think that Marcus Sedgwick is one of the most underrated writers that I've ever read. His books often leave me feeling mesmerised long after I've left the final page behind. He doesn't care about trends or pleasing people. He delivers unique stories and interesting narratives - each of which is nothing like the last. He writes in different genres and isn't afraid to cross the lines of them and make you wonder exactly what you've let yourself in for. I have a lot of admiration for him. From the beautifully written historical fiction of Revolver, to the strange but compelling fantasy of Midwinterblood, he has always seemed to deliver. Which, I think, makes She Is Not Invisible doubly disappointing.

This book tries. You can see it trying from page one. Maybe, you might say, it tries too hard. I was initially delighted by the introduction of a blind teen protagonist - not something I am too familiar with - and the engaging opening that presents us with a bizarre mystery. In this story, Laureth Peak's father is a famous writer who appears to have gone missing. He is supposed to be doing research in Europe but all is apparently not what it seems when someone contacts Laureth informing her that her father's notebook has been found in New York. Afraid for her father's safety and perhaps even his sanity, Laureth runs away with her brother on a mission to locate their missing parent after the other one seems unconcerned. Even inexperienced readers will find themselves mentally working through the possibilities of what could have happened - good news is, you're all probably wrong.

But there's bad news too. Or there was for me. Firstly, there's a lack of believability in everything that happens in this novel. I can suspend disbelief quite a lot, I really can. But not only does Laureth manage to fool numerous airport staff into letting a blind sixteen-year-old girl leave the country with her kid brother, she also manages to sufficiently distract the security at the New York airport enough that they simply wave her through. That's right. The security staff at an airport were like "oh well, we're a bit distracted with this other thing over here so go on through". The book was already losing me by this point.

The problems I had with the believability were a real shame. More so in this than other books because I really appreciated the author trying to realistically portray the way a blind person perceives the world. Through Laureth, I had the opportunity to think about things I don't normally consider and understand a bit more about the difficulties facing people with little to no eyesight. It made for some sad and terrifying scenes in the book. But it still failed in the end, if you ask me. The book became a joke with every ridiculous turn it took and this detracted from what had started as something really special.

Though perhaps the thing I disliked most were the attempts to make this book deeply philosophical. This is what I mean when I said it tried too hard. Unlike the other novels I've read by this author, the book set out to convey a message, not to tell a story. And it didn't work. The slow build-up was manageable only because it seemed to promise a wow factor somewhere down the line... it was anticlimactic, to say the least. The main story is split up with pages of Laureth's father's notebook which talks about coincidence, patterns of the universe, Einstein (amongst other scientists) and the general meaning of it all. It asked big questions but seemed to end with a shrug of its metaphorical shoulders that left me feeling like I'd just wasted the last couple of hours. Very disappointing.
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
394 reviews675 followers
April 5, 2018
“The Benjamin Effect is in operation”

Can you say ‘sibling goal’? Laureth & Benjamin (&Stan). How effing wonderful!

I’ve absolutely no idea how plausible this whole book really is but when it’s this fun , seriously, who cares??

I’m not unhappy with the way I am, because I don’t mind being blind. What I mind is people treating me as if I’m stupid

Laureth’s voice was so distinct, it kept me glued. She was so full of compassion and understanding, it was just totally impossible not to root for her and take her side even when you saw her committed one outrageously reckless act after another. She is absolutely NOT invisible. Not to me by a long shot.

Benjamin oh Benjamin, how can you be this smart and adorable? I would be real sad when you, eventually, grow up! Do not lose your Stannous, love?
319 reviews1,892 followers
March 15, 2014
Before I get to anything else, it should be said that I thought this was really wonderful. But, with that having been said, I think She Is Not Invisible will be met with very contrasting opinions soon enough--and it already has, among friends of mine and myself--but knowing that makes me think it's even more wonderful. What I found absolutely fascinating about She Is Not Invisible, others will find boring, I'm sure. Much of the novel--namely the portions regarding Laureth's father's notebook and its contents--reads just like a college lecture or textbook on philosophy, and I think by me telling you just that you'll be able to tell if this book is for you or not. In the end, I think you'll either find this book either a complete waste of time, or utterly profound and clever.

I fall into the latter camp. She Is Not Invisible is a very, very slow moving novel; there's nothing particularly exciting going on until the end, really, but I wouldn't consider that to be one of the book's flaws at all. The book doesn't need breakneck action, and I think that if it were exciting, all the excitement would feel almost out of place. And unnecessary; it has its own layer of intensity when you fully come to terms with the fact that you're seeing things through someone who can't see. I would also definitely consider this literary fiction, and the way in which Marcus Sedgwick writes the perspective of a blind MC is exceptional and interesting.

Also exceptional and interesting is how Sedgwick incorporates philosophy, patterns of the universe, and the true (and thorough) logic behind coincidences into She Is Not Invisible. This is pretty much where the lecture part of the novel kicks in, and although I did think some of it was info-dumpy and at times maybe even a bit overwhelming, for the most part I loved all of the philosophy bits. But, if you're not one for reading a lot of facts about statistics (some about math, which even I found fascinating, and I hate math), and, well, things you'd probably hear in a college philosophy lecture or read in a textbook, She Is Not Invisible might not be for you. However, it's all integral to the story, and I think even if you don't find the subject matter itself interesting, what you may find interesting is how it all relates to what happens in the novel.

The characterization admittedly wasn't the best in my opinion, nor was the big reveal of what happened to the father (which I thought was anticlimactic, but I loved everything about how the characters got to the reveal). Coming out of the novel I'm still not sure if I have a solid feel on who the characters are, but the way in which Laureth's narrative is written is innovative and ballsy and I love it. If I were challenged with the task to write from the perspective of a blind MC, I think I'd cry myself to sleep at night, but Marcus Sedgwick does it damn well. Laureth's perspective brings up subtle points about loneliness and a fantastic point about the things we assume about people when we're given minimal information about them. It made me stop and compare how I see the world and go through it daily to how she does; made me wonder how I would maybe look at the world if I were blind, and how I would even function.

With She Is Not Invisible, Marcus Sedgwick has written one of the most thought-provoking perspectives I've ever read, and really, just one of the most thought-provoking novels I've ever read. It's the type of book that will make you stop and think about how you see the world at any given moment; it will make you think about coincidences, and the almost-coincidences, and will have you begin to notice them in your life. I know that this book will not be for many readers, but I think that if you're the type who likes it when a book can make you stop in daily life in just think, even after you've finishing reading it, and if you can enjoy the little "lectures" in this novel, She Is Not Invisible will certainly be worth the read. I can almost promise you that.
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,015 reviews920 followers
February 7, 2018
I read this book for the Diversity in All Forms Goodreads' Book Club. If you would like to join in the discussion here is the link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

We read this book for World Braille Day.

Laureth is a 16-year-old girl from London. Her father is a famous author that decides to travel to New York City to research coincidences for his new book. However, when his writing shows up unexpected in a strangers hand Laureth becomes concerned, especially because he won't answer the phone. Laureth makes an impulsive move to find her father. She and her younger brother fly from London to New York to find him.

I really found this book fascinating because Laureth is blind. There are not too many books that tell a story from a main character who is blind. Laureth had to rely on her other senses and on her brother to survive.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,543 reviews33.9k followers
January 27, 2014
Clever and thought-provoking, and an interesting change of pace for an author mostly known for dark, gothic stories. (It's so nice to see the humorous, pleasant side we've gotten to know through his interviews!)

While the ending was a bit less complex than I expected, I love everything I've read by this author and this book is no exception.

Review to come.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
957 reviews738 followers
September 1, 2015
".. and you don't have to understand everything about something to love it, do you? In fact, sometimes that can make you love something more."

My second book from Marcus Sedgwick and I'm totally impressed. I don't know exactly why but all I can say is I totally dig this book that I didn't mind that some scenarios were kinda unrealistic and not believable. I am swept away by the greatness of this book. It's free-flowing, nervous-inducing and heart-warming novel that I immensely devoured. I also didn't experience any boredom while reading this. Seriously.

I thought this is the first time I read a book which has a blind as a main character (who is Laureth). The story is good yet with a blind main character, the story got better. Not because Laureth is blind but because her character as a blind was plausible and portrayed very well by the author. It was revealing and convincing for me. And there were thoughts and insights chanelling by the author through Laureth's character about blindness that are admiring and moving at the same time.

Besides, even some thought it was trying hard to be deeply philosophical, I found the lectures and explanations (which is a main part of the story) about coincidences, patterns of the universe and math interesting and helpful, not just storywise but readerwise also since I've got to learn something I don't know.

It was really good, okay. Thought-provoking, clever and diverse, She is Not Invisible imparts an important message about blindness, life, obsession, chances and some things we make us think, that eventually we need to think about.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews802 followers
July 1, 2016
North East Teenage Book Awards Nominee 2014

5 Words: Coincidence, blindness, drama, family, searching.

When I first finished this book I though Damn, that was good.

But now I've had a chance to think. And I'm thinking, maybe it's not so good.

So now I'm all confused. Time for a Good vs. Bad review so I can sort my feelings out.

The pace - this book builds and builds to an excellent, exciting ending. It was an interesting idea, for sure, and it even made me think about going off and researching. Also, Laureth was pretty amazing. I'm sure she'd say she's just normal, but managing to do what she did, face what she faced, that'd be exceptional for anyone.

It felt like it was trying too hard. Way too hard. It was like there was this idea and it was played out until it almost hurt to read. And Benjamin's thing was just a little too convenient too.

OK, so maybe I was being a little hard on this. It was pretty good overall and I really enjoyed it while I read it.
Profile Image for Sierra.
292 reviews20 followers
February 9, 2018
Actual Rating : 4.5 stars
I think that this is one of the first books that I have read that the main character is a blind 16 year old. To me this book was a quick and adorable story to read.
Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews608 followers
May 7, 2015

This one is powerful in a quiet way. Most people commonly talks about rape, murder, vengeance and a lot more usual topics we usually see in a book. But what I love about this book is that, it shows us how a blind person perceives the world. I rarely read about blind people because it's rare to find a fiction novel about blind people. This book teaches me a lot of things. Not just about how people treats about blind person but about the things we usually take for granted.

The ending, that a lot of people remarks as "bland " is perfect for me. Although at first I was rooting for an ending that mind-fucks people. (This is because I usually loves to read about book with maddening endings..) But then, this book takes the phrase "realistic fiction" in a whole new level so I realized that it doesn't need a mind-fucking ending to be beautiful.

Life doesn't usually gives us cliffhanger endings unless you're a real-life badass mercenary or a special agent.

Sometimes, stories ends in a quiet peaceful way.

And sometimes, that's the most beautiful ending of all.

Here are my favorite quotes:
You can also find this one in Quote Roundup





Read this.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,359 reviews202 followers
June 30, 2014

3.5 Stars

“Why is it that sometimes you forget just how much you love someone until they’re gone? Why are we so stupid? Shouldn’t we always remember that the people we love are more important to us than anything else?”

This book doesn’t mess around. We bump right into big questions and big trouble!

Laureth Peak fears her father may be in danger, so she sets off to find him with her little brother, Benjamin. And Stan too—Benjamin’s stuffed animal raven. :) This is a cross the ocean—from London to New York--type adventure. A “we-can-get-into-BIG-trouble” adventure! Following the mysterious clues and notes in their Dad’s notebook, Laureth and Benjamin travel up & down and all around New York City in hopes of finding him safe and sound. From taxi rides to deli specials, New York plays a huge role in this story. A role that made this mystery come to life on the page with personality, sounds and smells. So stick your hand in the air, hail a cab and jump on in! This is a ride and read that will charm, confuse and entertain.

For such a short read, there is a lot boiling in the plot pot. The trials and troubles of writing, coincidences, and obsession to name a few. I enjoyed the first half of the book very much. The tone started out light and lovely by showing Laureth and Benjamin’s warmth, love and trust for each other. Benjamin is the sweetest kid! His whispers to Stan made me smile and the way he helped guide Laureth through the dark made me proud. But wow! The creep factor oozed in fast near the end of the book. It gave me the shivers how fast the mood changed from tension and worry to dark and slimy! Plus….

The main reason why I read and liked this book was because the main character—Laureth—is blind. Do you know how rare a blind main character is for young adult fiction? VERY rare. I have someone in my life that is visually impaired, so I’m always on the lookout for characters that might speak to her. A lot of what Laureth said rang true. Some comments and thoughts hit me pretty damn hard actually.

“I am scared, almost all the time. But I never tell anyone. I can’t afford to. I have to go on pretending I’m this confident person, because if I don’t, if I’m quiet, I become invisible. People treat me as if I’m not there.”

*deep, deep, breath*

I liked this story for many reasons, but most of them are close to my heart and home. This was my first Marcus Sedgwick book and it won’t be my last. He is a true story teller. His characters, way with words, and sense of adventure all swept me in. Off to hunt down more from the man.

A quick, entertaining read that I would recommend picking up from your library.

Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews582 followers
February 10, 2014
I had no idea how thought-provoking She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick would be or how much I would enjoy this YA read! I love the world building and descriptions of people and places. Never have I been able to mentally picture a scene through only sound, smell and feel, but thanks to Laureth, the narrator and main character, I am amazed at how clearly I could be “in the moment.” Laureth is a blind sixteen-year-old who sets out on a mission to find her missing father with her six-year-old brother and his stuffed raven, Stan in tow and so begins their journey from London to New York. A daunting feat for anyone, but Laureth possesses a confidence that she can do it with the help of Benjamin, who becomes her eyes when needed. Where is their author/father? Is it his obsession with coincidences that has made him go AWOL?

Marcus Sedgwick has put together captivating characters, an international adventure and done more to shed light on the day to day challenges of what a person without sight must endure than any dry, non-fiction publication with his crisp writing and attention to the emotional detail. Being different doesn’t mean being insignificant, doesn’t mean having to go the extra mile to make people comfortable, we should all leave our comfort zones and never underestimate the power of determination. The real story here is about the journey Laureth, Benjamin and Stan take against all odds, all in the name of family and love. Mr. Sedgwick has created an eye-opening experience, a wondrous adventure and an amazingly entertaining read! I admit, I couldn’t have done what these two did!

I received an ARC edition from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Roaring Brook Press in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group|Roaring Brook Press
ISBN: 9781596438019
Genre: YA
Number of Pages: 224
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Profile Image for ALPHAreader.
1,102 reviews
December 13, 2013
One final time I told myself I wasn’t abducting my little brother.

Thus begins Marcus Sedgwick’s triumphant young adult novel ‘She Is Not Invisible’ about sixteen-year-old Laureth Peak who ‘abducts’ her seven-year-old brother, Benjamin, and goes on a thrilling adventure from Manchester, UK to New York in search of their missing father.

Jack Peak was a famous novelist – back when he wrote ‘funny’ books – but for the last few years (most of Benjamin’s life in fact) Jack Peak has been working on a new book all about coincidence. It’s taken up most of his time, maybe even his sanity and possibly his marriage– as he researches Edgar Allen Poe, Carl Jung, Albert Einstein the haunting of number-354 and The Hound of Heaven. Most recently he’s been on a research trip to Switzerland … but when Laureth hasn’t heard from her father in almost a week, she grows concerned. Even more so when she receives a mysterious email from someone in New York claiming to have found her father’s precious notebook.

Her mother seems unconcerned with Jack’s whereabouts, but Laureth has a funny feeling. She’s determined to go to New York and find her father, but she needs Benjamin to do it. Because Laureth is blind.

Once we were at Auntie Sarah’s and Mum found me crying, and I think she knew what was going on, but she couldn’t bring herself to say it.
So I said it for her.
‘It’s okay. They’re just idiots. Can’t handle someone who’s a bit different.’
And Mum started crying then and told me how sorry she was but I told her not to be, because you can’t miss what you’ve never had, because I’m not unhappy with the way I am, because I don’t mind being blind. What I mind is people treating me as if I’m stupid.

I’m in absolute awe of both Marcus Sedgwick and Laureth. Here is a heart-palpitating mystery thriller about two children following the trail of their father’s mad scribblings through the world’s busiest city – and the entire story is narrated by Laureth. It’s no mean feat to communicate the sounds and smells, the feel of New York minus the sense of sight, but Sedgwick does it marvellously.

The story is told in real-time as Laureth and Ben go hunting for their missing father, and while piecing together his puzzle, Laureth reflects on the events leading up to her father’s disappearance and the long obsession he’s had with his book on coincidence. Interspersed throughout the book are pages from Jack Peak’s ‘black book’ – containing ideas about his next book, mad ramblings about the number 354 and a seeming paranoia about The Hound Of Heaven.

Without a doubt, it’s refreshing to read a young adult book with a blind protagonist, but especially Sedgwick’s book because Laureth’s lack of sight is never communicated as a ‘disability’. It’s just who she is and she wouldn’t change it even if she could, but she is frustrated at having to adapt to other people who treat her differently (from begrudging pity to empty sympathy). Laureth is in no way held back by her blindness. In fact, it gives her a far more open perspective of people.

I remember being tiny, about Benjamin’s age, standing in the sweet shop, and the woman behind the counter asking Mum, ‘What does she want? Does she like chocolates? Or something else? How do you manage with her? It must be very hard…’
She kept on and on, as if I wasn’t there. As if I were invisible. But I’m not.
The woman kept on and on, and Mum didn’t know what to say, and I just stood there, feeling more and more upset, and as she went on, I suddenly thought it was as if she was the one who was blind, and couldn’t see me, not the other way around.

‘She Is Not Invisible’ is also a writing triumph for Marcus Sedgwick. I don’t want to give the surprise away – but coincidences run deeper in this book than just the plot, and when it’s revealed just how much tricky thought Sedgwick put into the writing, your jaw will drop

‘She Is Not Invisible’ is a wonderful novel, and definitely going on my favourite’s list. Laureth is one of the finest young sleuths and this mystery thriller is so finely crafted so as to send tingles down your spine well after the last page …
511 reviews209 followers
February 24, 2014

Cover: LOVE
Title: LOVE
Story: this book is the ultimate troll.

Yet it could have been so much fun, if only. If only it hadn't been hellbent on making me believe, disbelieve in coincidences, stuffing in my mind all the concepts that I already might or might not believe. In a way, She Is Not Invisible became preachy, too preachy.

The plot is double cool with knobs: a blind girl, her little brother with crazy supernatural powers seek to rescue their father's secret notebook and find the father, too, who they believe, is lost in a single weekend while her mother is away at her aunt's. And a sagacious kid. And trains. WIN WIN WIN! On every bloody account.

The combination of each of those elements makes for a very unique reading experience, which is further embellished by the themes of pattern, coincidence, synchronicity, Carl Jung v/s Einstein going on. It's a story, it's an author that could open one's mind to millions of possibilities, some apparent like dust and the rest a kaleidoscope.

I had fun, so much fun and with these endless possibilities floating around: what are those words? what does that mean? for real?, it had me believing despite the fact that I may already have known and accepted that, it had me believe I believed; it persuaded me to question what I thought I believed; and to go out with a bang, it gave me goosebumps. Because it was frightening, and while unrealistic, being caught up in the mood of the novel, I was very much invested and ergo, panicked like Laureth did. But those were the choice moments; otherwise, the book simply enervated me with its seemingly disingenuous
and forceful commentary on synchronicity.

However, these feelings of mine are for one side of the schism that divides the story, for every alternate chapter that was a snippet from the secret notebook of Mr Peak. It stymied the solid three star I would've given otherwise by turning the book into a discordant piece, with the narrative being interrupted exactly when I was beginning to get interested.

The residue of me includes enjoyment, a coupla 'yahoo!', the occasional 'meh' and 'blah' and in the end, shock and disappointment.

Marcus Sedgwick is a perspicacious author; his characters illustrate that. Laureth isn't a indigent for her visual disability, nor is her little brother annoying-cute-idiotic in the way that little brothers definitely aren't. The parents aren't written up/off as side characters' usual lack of depth, nor is that one green-eyed guy who appears for a few minutes in what could considered a filler scene, but frankly, how else is the reader supposed to spend the flight? There is no administration of pathos, yet it manages to be a poignant story- for a while. The writing is simplistic but very, very oft evocative, and, when it aims to be, chilling. In short, Sedgwick writes and its effect is conveyed almost completely.

Laureth and her brother's journey through shit and muggers and NYC airport was riddled with problems they miraculously overcome: he has superpowers, someone has brothers, serendipity and coincidence, and get the gist. For once, I didn't mind(wouldn't have minded superpowers anywho). It's an adventurous story that appealed to every part of me, and will surely be a hit with many readers. Similarly, the attempts to make it give it more depth will turn off many readers.

As to the ending, the resultant egression for which caused much distress and loss of gray cells, it was a paragon of trolling. My feelings about it are the opposite sides of the same biased(due to a chip on the less recurring side(manufacturing problems and all)) coin: I feel irked that after so much hard work, albeit exasperating hard work, this is what it comes to; because, DAMMIT! I paid attention and tried hard not to let my mind divert towards moths fluttering under the streetlamp. And still, I think I am somewhat glad that it was resolved this way, because it was getting too much. Back to the earlier argument, though: precisely because it was getting too much, it shouldn't have ended like that. I felt like there was something she would take away, but I have no idea if she did.

In short, the ending is:

It could've been great, it was but then, no more.
Profile Image for Vendea.
1,468 reviews159 followers
July 15, 2015
Hodně zvláštní kniha, nad kterou musím pořád přemýšlet. Souhra náhod, koincidence? Autor to měl vymyšlené skvělé, navíc výlet do New Yorku a slepá hlavní hrdinka... Jo, asi se to mi vlastně líbilo. Dost.

Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,880 followers
July 17, 2016
Although I’m new to Marcus Sedgwick’s work, I took one look at his previous ratings and award nominations and rushed to download She Is Not Invisible, confident I would enjoy it. It is, indeed, obvious that Sedgwick is an author of great talent – in this book, his sentences appear to be liquid, blending together effortlessly in a prose piece of extraordinary beauty.

But sometimes, even that isn’t enough.

This is not Sedgwick’s first book written from a teen girl’s perspective. There is The Foreshadowing, for one, and possibly even others. But I’d venture to say that he knows very little about 16-year-old girls, since there was nothing about Laureth’s voice that struck me as particularly authentic. I’ve never read a YA book with a blind protagonist, which is a pity, but Laureth’s double standards bothered me immensely. On the one hand, she tried very hard not to let anyone notice she was blind. She hid it right up until someone backed her into a corner and forced her to admit it. On the other hand, she would get offended and upset when people treated her like she wasn’t blind – for example, when people she ran into (while pretending not to be blind) dared to complain.

She Is Not Invisible is a clear example of an author trying too hard: to be original, occasionally funny and true to life, and through it all, to deliver those Very Important Messages we all seem to need. Somehow, in this grand effort, simpler and more important things were neglected and lost: things like substance and plausibility.

The already short narrative was burdened with a long, tedious study of coincidence, which was the reason behind the disappearance of Laureth’s father. Instead of being clever, excerpts from his little notebook (that served as Laureth’s guide), were very disruptive to the plot and, to be blunt, incredibly boring.

But most of all, I find it hard to believe that a 16-year-old blind girl would be able to travel unnoticed from London to New York with a 7-year-old boy in tow. The idea that US customs would neglect to check her documents because they were otherwise distracted is slightly ludicrous. I have no trouble suspending disbelief when I know that’s what’s expected of me, but in a book that strives to be realistic, details like that are very out of place.

Overall, She Is Not Invisible is not a book I’d recommend, despite the gorgeous writing. The story is poorly planned and plotted and its protagonist completely unmemorable.

Profile Image for Mississippi Library Commission.
389 reviews74 followers
October 30, 2015
She is not Invisible is pretty spectacular. There's a strong female protagonist with plenty of gumption and the writing kept us on the edge of our seat. Bonus: we learned a lot of neat tidbits about coincidence and probability.
Profile Image for Andrew Hicks.
94 reviews43 followers
November 6, 2014
She Is Not Invisible is a triumph of characterization, atmosphere, setting, suspense and dialogue. The only thing lacking, as we get into the meat of the narrative, is the plot itself. At 216 pages total, you spend the whole book trying to figure out what’s really going on. When the reveal comes, you’re like, “Eh, that’s all it is? None of this really even had to happen. Oh well, at least it’s over already.”

And, yeah, in instant hindsight, you can figure out why it all had to happen . And you’ll appreciate, even admire the measures author Marcus Sedgwick took to arrive at this finished product. Overall, this is a highly enjoyable book, a perfect candidate for the nonexistent 4.5-star rating on Goodreads.

Sedgwick is British, and so are the main characters. Laureth, the 16-year-old protagonist, is also blind - and even that detail is an unraveling reveal in the narrative. Laureth’s dad is an author whose popularity is waning, thanks to his recent tendency to be dark and take things too seriously. (I got a wicked sense of deja vu for Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories , where person after person tells him, “I love your early, funny movies.”)

Laureth’s dad, also, is MIA, and Laureth fears the worst. Dad took a trip across Europe to research a book. Now he’s unreachable by phone, Mom doesn’t care*, and Laureth - who is in charge of opening and replying to all her dad’s fanmail-type correspondence - gets an email from a New Yorker who’s found her dad’s prized black notebook. The notebook where Author Dad keeps all his authorly notes. Found in New York, not Europe. The emailer has enclosed photos of the first three pages of the notebook as proof of possession.

Now Mom - in the tradition of all YA parents who are conveniently drawn away so their kids can have unsupervised fictional adventures - is leaving town alone for a three-day family birthday party or some shit. I forget how exactly Laureth pulls this off, but she secretly gets custody of her 7-year-old brother (to help her see and navigate) and her mom’s credit card, takes a taxi to the airport and boards a flight to New York City to find her dad and his notebook.

Much of the book is this journey - through the airport, onto the plane, into New York - and it’s never anything less than believable and enjoyable**. There’s claustrophobia, there’s danger, there’s adventure, and there’s a constant give and take between Laureth and her brother, and it never seems like too much or too little. This is a blind girl and a small child, alone in an enormous city, working together, with only threadbare clues to guide them. And it works.

Another stroke of genius on Sedgwick’s part - having us get to know the dad character through his personal notes, reprinted from the black notebook as Laureth has them read to her by Benjamin, the 7-year-old brother. These spark Laureth’s memories and observations, and the Author Dad character comes to life despite his absence.

Dad, we discover, like Sedgwick himself, has become obsessed with coincidences - the science of them, the study of them, the history of attempting to understand them - and the number 354. This figures into the story itself, but it also leads to some quick, interesting detours, and it helps prolong the suspense created by the main narrative. And, yeah, I have to admit, it's a little douchey at times. But it's all good.

In the Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover department - from the thumbnail/distance glance of the first edition’s cover of She Is Not Invisible, the side-view silhouette in the picture looks like a black girl sporting a bag of dreads. That picture, combined with the title She Is Not Invisible, made me think this book would have some kind of major I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings element to it. Not the case, of course, but in the Sheer Coincidence department, Maya Angelou's funeral occurred the day before I started reading this book. Which is kinda interesting.

* = I spent like half the book thinking Laureth’s parents had been divorced for years, but they’re still married. They just don’t like each other anymore.

** = Emily May, who writes thoughtful, entertaining YA reviews on Goodreads, found the entire book lacking in credibility. Emily had a problem with one sequence in particular, . This sequence raised a quick red flag with me too, as being simply too convenient, but I could think of examples - on a smaller scale - where I've been the person on either side of this type of scenario. Where rules are supposed to be strictly followed, something greater happens unexpectedly, and there's a, “Fine, just go ahead, and for God’s sake, don’t tell anybody!” moment. Just sheer luck, or sheer coincidence. Long story short, I bought it, Emily May didn’t, and that’s okay.
Profile Image for ☼ rf ☼.
200 reviews106 followers
February 4, 2017
( 3.5 ) I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this. The blurb kind of made it sound like there was going to be a little bit of a thriller / mystical element to this book, but it seemed to be a little watered down. Hence the reason I've created a shelf called 'middle grade' as it seems to fit that category a little better than young adult. Having said that, it was a really cute story!

What I Liked
1. The way the blindness is handled. It's mentioned in the book, sure, but not in a way that would make a younger child think that anything was truly troubling about her situation, which is great! As is mentioned in the book, so much of blind people in literature are seen as people who are too weak to do anything for themselves, or they go completely the opposite direction and make them superheroes (Daredevil). There isn't a big panic about her being blind, but rather we just see her being brave. We see her fly seven hours to get to America with only herself and her little brother, but rather than thinking she's brave for doing this because she's blind, we think she's brave for doing this because she's SIXTEEN and uh, may have committed fraud.

2. That we really got to take a look into Laureth's mind, and see what an everyday was like for her. She brought up the idea that it truly doesn't matter that much to her that she's 'missing out' on something. She's never been able to see different colours so why should she obsess over something that isn't going to happen? We can't see molecules (unless we use the super strong microscope that they just made), but only a portion of us actually invest our time into it. I would be completely fine if I never saw a life - it probably wouldn't make a difference to me. ps. please let me know if this view is kind of narrow minded

3. Benjamin was such a sweetheart. He was so good at helping his sister around, and knowing what to do. He was just the cutest, but at the same time he was so smart? It wasn't like he was a 20 year old in a 7 years olds body, he was definitely 7; rather he was an intelligent 7 year old but with all of the whining that comes with them. I love how he talked to his stuffed raven as well! That was so adorable, especially when Laureth was trying to get him to do something.

What Could Have Been Better
1. Occasionally the journal extracts seemed a little bit . . . unnecessary. I have a feeling that if I had skipped a few, I would still be able to understand the entire story. While it's true, there was ONE passage that was extremely relevant to the book, apart from that I couldn't find too much use for them.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,003 reviews3,298 followers
October 27, 2017
Exploring obsessions, coincidences, blindness and what it means to be family, She is Not Invisible is a mixed bag when it comes to ideas.

Having never read a Marcus Sedgwick book, I didn't have any expectations going in, and I can say I was pleasantly surprised. I was immediately sucked into the story of Laureth and her 7 year old brother, running away to New York to find her dad who she believes has gone missing.

I loved the insight into her thoughts and actions as someone who is blind. I really sensed the extra consideration she had to go through, trying to appear more confident than she felt, pretending to stare at objects and nodding at people even though she technically couldn't see their reactions. Seeing the world through how she navigated it was also interesting.

The sibling relationship here was adorable and I really felt for her brother Benjamin at times. He actually acts like a 7 year old, with his imaginary pet Raven. Although I did have to suspend disbelief at his "power" and felt there was no explanation as to why he had it, which almost gave it a sci-fi twist which was a bit too convenient.

There were so many disbeliefs that I had here, which kind of took me out of the story. A 16 year old travels countries with her young brother and somehow manages to leave the airport with no passport for her brother and nowhere to stay. Her mum only realises they are gone after a few days and makes 1 phone call. Combined with Benjamin's power and all the coincidences that happened, it just felt... unbelievable.

The philosophical thoughts were interesting, especially exploring theories and causality of physics and coincidences, but after the 4th time these physicists were mentioned, my eyes kind of glazed over. As it explores their life and theories, it actually gets a bit too overwhelming. I also felt like a lot of it actually went over my head.

After the build up of the whole book, and so many loose ends, I felt like the ending was anti-climactic and kind of pointless. I enjoyed the book at the start, got a bit lost in the middle, and was disappointed in the end. Definitely a mixed bag for me.
Profile Image for Megan  (thebookishtwins).
523 reviews171 followers
February 9, 2017
I am a fan of Marcus Sedgwick ever since I read Blood Red, Snow White and I have been slowly making my way through his books. She Is Not Invisible is written fairly simple that makes for an easy read, and allows you to easily get to know the characters. I think this is a great book, especially as it adds light on how society reacts to disabled people, and those who are visually impaired and the protagonist Laureth Peak is blind. Therefore She Is Not Invisible adds some diversity and originality to the YA contemporary genre, which is really great. Some great characters, with some good development and relationships with a nice mystery thrown in.

Overall, an enjoyable and refreshing read.
Profile Image for Zahra Labbafan.
363 reviews22 followers
January 20, 2023
داستانش به عنوان یک داستان هیجانی جنایی بد نیست مخصوصا برای نوجوانان
ولی انقدر همه چیز رو راحت گرفته و جلو میبره مخصوصا برای یک فرد نابینا که اصلا نمیشد با داستان و شخصیت ها همذات پنداری کرد!
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,863 reviews420 followers
January 9, 2018
'She is Not Invisible' is too young and too meh for me. The publisher and libraries appear to be calling the novel appropriate for young adults and teens, but I would think 4th graders would most enjoy the story.

Sixteen-year-old Laureth Peak, the narrator, is blind. She impulsively decides to travel by herself with her seven-year-old brother Benjamin on an airline from London to New York to find her missing father, Jack Peak, a writer of humorous books. When she tried to discuss her worry about her missing father, a concern she built up after he did not answer his phone for several days, with her mother, her mom did not care where Jack was.

Laureth had noticed a growing coolness between her mom and dad, especially as Jack's obsession with coincidences and the number 354 began to take over Jack's life 24/7. As Jack's obsessions grew, his books became more serious and his sales fell off.

Ben helps Laureth navigate, but since Laureth is telling the story we readers get an insider look at being blind. As she takes taxis, goes through airports, handles two currencies and travels around the streets and boroughs of New York City, following clues her father left in a notebook which was found by another kid, she learns to trust herself in overcoming many obstacles. As the two children visit various locations, they meet interesting people and find themselves in a few dangerous situations.

Their various adventures are interrupted by moments of reading Jack's notebook for clues. Jack wrote a great deal about what he had been learning about coincidences. Famous mathematically-inclined people and early psychoanalysts such as Jung and Freud had explored if coincidences demonstrated some principle behind the way the universe works, and maybe whatever 'it' was, if 'it' links up with human minds in some way.

Frankly, gentle reader, these notebook musings of Jack's researches into the 'science' of coincidences was a bizarre interjection into the plot. Readers are introduced to some famous psychoanalysts and briefly we discover how they defined and named certain mental conditions surrounding the experience of coincidences (I myself lost my faith in religion after taking a Statistics class in college - hehe). Jack's journal also discusses the mind's natural and automatic seeking of patterns in everything. We do it in cataloguing faces to seeing coincidences to feeling numbers must be lucky if they keep turning up in our lives. I think the author wanted to show how Laureth used her father's patterns of thought as a guide to track him, but omg, gentle reader! If so, it was a very very very tenous link! She mostly used hard facts from informants, not coincidences, although a coincidence occurs. Even now, in thinking about this novel, I still do not understand why the author Marcus Sedgwick included in-depth material about coincidences in this book which is otherwise a basic mystery for elementary school kids. Plus, in the way the author discusses coincidences and patterns, I could not for the life of me figure out how it all related to Laureth's blindness or her adventure.

My two reactions after finishing 'She is Not Invisible' were "whaaaat?" and 'meh'. I am giving an extra star for the insider view of Laureth's life as a blind person, even though it was a bit light in weight and brief in actual descriptions (barely any mention or use of Braille - to me, clearly a missed opportunity to discuss perceived patterns! - Laureth mostly uses Apple's Siri to read to her); however, this is a very simple book with an entertaining mystery.
Profile Image for nobody.
135 reviews
April 10, 2021
پدر لورت نویسنده ست و گم شده. اون تصمیم می گیره بره نیویورک تا پدرش رو پیدا کنه اما از اونجایی که نابیناست، برادر هفت ساله ش رو با خودش می بره. یا به قول خودش، می دزده. علاوه بر اینکه روند داستان و شخصیت ها و همه چی خیلی خوب بود، اون نظریه هایی که پدرشون ارائه می کرد هم خیلی جالب بودن. اثر بنجامین هم جالب بود، ولی هنوز توی واقعی بودنش شک دارم. "-"
در کل، یه کتاب خوب که می تونید یه روزه تمومش کنید.
+ اینکه اسم لورت از "سولفات سدیم لورت" روی مواد شیمایی یه شامپو اومده... حقیقتا عجیب ترین چیز کتاب بود.
با مامان لورت موافقم. کی اسم دخترش رو از مواد شیمیایی شامپو انتخاب می کنه؟

"وقتی چیزی را در اثر تجربه ی سخت یاد بگیری، هیچ وقت فراموشش نمی کنی."
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,312 reviews50 followers
December 4, 2014
"Love is a funny thing, and once again I really don't mean it's amusing. I mean it's odd. Strange. Weird. There was a time not so long ago, because I can remember it, when Mum and Dad loved each other. It was obvious, in the things that they did, and the way they were, and the way they called each other 'honey'."

In the end of 2013, I came up to finding a list on Buzzfeed that showed the top twenty books that will sure be hits of 2014. This one was actually on it, and I've been wanting to read it for the longest time. Where in the world would you find a mysterious thriller showing the point of view of a young blind girl?

I must say that I was pretty disappointed with this one, compared to all of the wonderful things said about Marcus Sedgwick and his writing. You may say I was the black sheep, but I'm actually very glad to have had the experience to read such a novel with a fantastic concept. There were just the minor things that set me off and disappointed me. Other than that, I was as happy as a sheep getting its wool shaved off. Okay, I'm over exaggerating about that joke there. But, you get what I mean.

Sedgwick is an excellent writer, don't get me wrong. He has a majestic way of captivating readers with his crazy but believable concepts, and you feel like you want to get to know the characters so well that they'll be your new best buddies.

This is about exactly what I first mentioned. Laureth and her brother are off to New York from their home in England to find their father—since Laureth received an email stating that someone's found her father's notebook—one that he's sure to never lose or forget anywhere.

Did I mention that Laureth's blind and her brother is so young and they're off in the unknown? No, not really.

That's basically the simple plot, but it made a huge difference and the meaning is so deep and found and relieved with gorgeousness. The concept was actually something I never really had a strong encounter with and I must say that whatshisname Sedgwick has stunned me in that aspect and is sure to stun millions of others who are willing to begin reading a contemporary that is so strange in its nice way.

"Sight must have its advantages. Like, I'm never going to drive a car, well not on public roads at least. But I can live with that. I've never wanted to be able to see, not really, but right then I knew that if I could see, I wouldn't have had to bring Benjamin with me, and then, I felt awful."

The book stayed the same way the whole time through. I felt the same thing from beginning to end, and there weren't any omg-so-amazing moments as I expected there'd be. I sat there after finishing, thinking, "Why wasn't this to my advantage in any way?" I wanted more jazz, and more action. Was this really supposed to be a hardcore mystery?

Laureth was honestly awesome. Because of her disability, I wasn't feeling intended to feel guilty, she just had us reading in a whole new perspective, from the eyes of a blind person. At the same time, she didn't intend to feel sorry for herself either, and she cared about the people around her. Just look at the risks she took to keep her brother safe and to find her father. She was honestly a dreamer and I loved her personality and self-being. Her attitude was a hit.

But throughout this whole "journey" or "story" or whatever you intend to call this novel, my favourite character remaining throughout had to be little Benjamin, Laureth's brother. He was such a perfect spirit and was so adorable! You don't really realize it until the end, but he made a total difference in Laureth's life and helped solve the mystery quicker than she could've ever imagined.

And one last thing—did you know that this book had to do with books? A lot of crazy awesome things were mentioned about fiction and coincidences, and I just loved it. This book was my environment at moments, but I wanted more.

'Yes,' said Dad. 'Oh. Coincidences in fiction just do not work. And even in real life, they tend to fall into two sorts. The ones that are so pathetic that they don't excite anyone but you, and the ones that are so incredible that they are literally just that; unbelievable. Even to members of your own family.'

Huh—I don't know. Do you ever get a feeling that you knew what was going to happen but then you didn't really know? Of course you did—that's what I was feeling with this book. I wish that I could've seen fireworks and sparks with my love, but this mystery wasn't everything I was planning it to be. I did love and enjoy the culture and impact on readers, though!

This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!e
Profile Image for Nada.
54 reviews26 followers
May 22, 2017
What an amazing, fast-paced clever read! I can say this is the best thriller novel i've read. I enjoyed every event that occurred that i couldn't manage putting the book down! This novel made me question and though provoke questions about coincidence, obsession, existence and the way we see the world. I recommend reading this. A new favorite of mine.
Profile Image for Tina.
323 reviews
December 27, 2022
Written for teens, the protagonist is a sixteen year old girl who is blind. She flies to New York to search for her father who has recently gone missing, taking her young brother to help.

The audiobook was beautifully read by Anna Cannings who was born blind.

RIP Marcus Sedgwick. I have enjoyed your work.
Profile Image for Books are TARDIS.
165 reviews50 followers
May 23, 2015
This is a quirky and fast paced read which highlights a rarely discussed topic in YA: visual impairment. And the way this topic is handled is both brave and enlightening. It features a wonderful sibling relationship and a fascinating author dad. I love meta books like these, this one not only features an author dad and his books, but the process of writing books. It also features at great length scientific research on the phenomenon of coincidences (which I very much feel like calling co-inky-dinks now). All the science in this book is just wonderful.

The pseudo-spiritual and philosophical discussion over coincidences kept me reeled in.

I really liked Laureth and sympathized with her storyline in the book, without EVER feeling sorry for her, which I like to think is the point.

She's a bit of a worrier and puts such a brave face on for the world while questioning and doubting herself inside, it was so very relate-able, especially the worrying to death part.

Anyone who has ever had an all-consuming joins all the dots of your life kind of personal epiphany would find in this book, a kindred spirit. Personal epiphanies can take you on the wildest goose-chases, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. This is one of those books that will either be a hit or a miss, and for me, it was a complete hit, for the love of science.
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