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Invisible City (Rebekah Roberts #1)

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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  1,054 ratings  ·  252 reviews
Just months after Rebekah Roberts was born, her mother, an Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, abandoned her Christian boyfriend and newborn baby to return to her religion. Neither Rebekah nor her father have heard from her since. Now a recent college graduate, Rebekah has moved to New York City tofollow her dream of becoming a big-city reporter. But she’s also drawn to the idea of ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Minotaur Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,748)
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AH
Initial Thoughts: So I picked up this book around lunchtime and finished it before dinner. This book deals with a murder investigation in NYC's Hasidic community. Rebekah Roberts is assigned to investigate the murder for her newspaper and she uncovers quite a lot of interesting tidbits. The story is told from Rebekah's point of view and the story kept me enthralled throughout. Rebekah's voice and the author's attention to details made the story feel very much an authentic depiction of the Hasidi ...more
M
One of my favorite lines from a movie what I have since forgotten goes something like this:
'I know you're a reporter. But you were once a human being.'
This line kept coming back to me as I read the very unfortunate Invisible City, a gritty murder mystery that I would not have wasted my time on, but for the tie in with the Hasidic community, a distant relative to me as an Orthodox Jew, and a strong desire to rip this book to shreds upon completing it.
IC is about a young woman named Rebekah (funky
...more
Jaylia3
The varied elements of this novel combine to make it both a compelling personal story and a suspenseful mystery. These include a homicide in an insular religious community that to some extent operates under its own laws and a complexly drawn main character with a troubled family history and a job that has her running all over the city inserting herself in other people’s lives. Invisible City by Julia Dahl had me from its premise and did not disappoint as I read. I was so drawn to it I found myse ...more
Tellulah Darling
The Hasidic community has always fascinated me and I'm always up for a good mystery, so when I saw this book, I had to pick it up. It's a solid read. Good writing. The mystery may not be the most challenging, but it had enough interesting twists and turns to keep me going.

Mostly, I really enjoyed Rebekah's brush with her mother's community. The insights she took away from it both as a perspective on another culture and what it meant for her personally. Definitely recommend.
Gwen
May 29, 2014 Gwen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Gwen by: random ARC from book club
Shelves: fiction
Surprisingly boring and felt oddly cliched/stereotyped. The mystery ended rather abruptly with little explanation, and the characterization was overall very poor. However, I give Dahl credit for pretty accurately capturing the voice of a 23-year-old new journalist and getting a good feel for how the world works for the underpaid, freshly out of college New Yorkers.
Jan Rice
The young heroine of Julia Dahl's new book, the first of a series, is in New York working as a stringer for a tabloid and trying to be a reporter, when she gets involved in investigating the murder of a Hasidic woman. Remembering Catch-22, she thinks,

Man is matter. Drop him out a window and he will fall. Set fire to him and he will burn. Something like that. I always remembered those lines. To me it felt like a carpe diem thing. Like, you've got this body, this life, and it's all you've got. But
...more
Rachel
Very quick & easy - I read it in 3 days. It was an interesting, intriguing murder mystery but I was uncomfortable with how the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Borough Park was portrayed. Everyone was either mentally ill, protecting a family member who was mentally ill, or trying to escape from the community. The ending totally left me hanging and she didn't bring any closure to Rebekah's relationship with her boyfriend Tony. There's probably a sequel in the works . . .
Maureen
Average - everything was average in this book: the character development, the plot, the writing. Average is being generous.

Intrepid girl reporter finds herself in "danger" in the big city. She is accompanied by the ubiquitous best fried and an extremely peripheral love interest [Insert the remainder of any other 'mystery' novel you have read here]. Nothing new to be found in these pages. This book is obviously setting up all the books that are going to be in this series. The only problem with t
...more
Caitlin
I really enjoyed this book - had a hard time putting it down. The pacing is pitch perfect, the characters interesting, and the story takes into unfamiliar worlds - top it off with topicality and voila! Entertainment!

Our intrepid heroine is Rebekah, a young reporter trying to live her dream in New York City, faced with all the challenges you might imagine. Added to this soup is her own personal mystery - what happened to her mother, a Hasidic Jew who abandoned her faith to marry and then abandone
...more
Martha
Folks have told me on a couple different occasions that I could/should write a book. I smile, say thank you and think to myself "just because I like writing, doesn't mean I could write a good book". This book lends itself to a different opinion: If this woman can get published and featured at my library's "express section". (Usually reserved for new books in high demand), I suppose I too could write a book.

That doesn't mean I would be a great author. Instead, it means that sometimes a ho hum au
...more
Patty
Invisible City
By
Julia Dahl


What I knew about this book before I read it...

Rebekah is a reporter but finds herself in the midst of this perplexing murder. She has some major issues because her mother abandoned her...sort of.

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book was interesting as well as absorbing. The person who was killed just happens to be a Hasidic Jewish woman in Brooklyn. Her body is whisked away...not autopsied...and no one talks about this openly. Rebekah has ties to this communi
...more
Carol
Invisible City by Julia Dahl tugged at my curiosity about Hasidic Jews. They are indeed an invisible city, unless we read a book about their life by a former Hasidic we really don’t know that much about their lives. The author is a journalist who writes about crime and if the main character could have a wish, I believe that she would like the same career.

Rebekah Roberts was raised by her father after her mother left her when she was just a few weeks old. Her father met her mother in the religion
...more
Lori
This was a very thoughtfully written debut novel!!! I learned so much about the Hasidic community which I previously knew nothing about!!! I really, really look forward to the next in this series!!! 4.5 stars!!!
Joyce
Interesting mystery debut--I hope the series will continue. Haunting, compelling story of young woman who comes to NYC to be a reporter but can only find a job as a stringer for a tabloid. She becomes involved in investigation of the murder of Hasidic woman and because her own mother, who disappeared when she was an infant, is Hasidic, Rebekah continues to investigate the murder and her own past. Political, cultural, and religious issues; plot twists that put Rebekah's life in jeopardy; well-dra ...more
Selena
Nov 21, 2014 Selena rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
There were things I liked about this book: the plot was interesting enough to keep reading, the look into the world of a sect of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn.

There were things I didn't like about this book: the main character's overuse of seemingly random vulgarities. I am not a prude and I myself have been known to use foul language, but it seemed out of place. Also, the oddly thrown in sex scenes which really add nothing to the plot and seem a bit random. The look into the world of Hasidim was not
...more
Chaitra
I liked and did not like this book. In a way it was good - it allowed me to peek into the world of the Hasidic Jews, whom I have glimpsed while in Brooklyn and about whom I know next to nothing. The problem with this though, is that I didn't think I was getting a complete picture. It is true that they are insular and probably have problems just like the rest of the world, but almost every character introduced to us in the book have either mental issues or issues with the way they live. They ques ...more
Rina
An interesting story about a reporter, born to a Hasidic mother and gentile father, and whose mother leaves when Rebekah is six months old. Rebekah is brought up in FL but comes to NY to be a reporter. She is not sure but believes her mother is somewhere in NY. She gets involved in a murder involving the Hasidic community and learns that the NYPD kowtows to the powerful ultra-Orthodox community. She cannot let the murderer get away with the crime and so...
Bayneeta
The glimpses into a Hasidic community are what this mystery has going for me. That was interesting, but Rebekah, a young (22) newspaper stringer was too anxiety-ridden and obsessed with her own abandonment by her mother to be of interest to me. Maybe she'll mature over the course of the series, but I won't be around to see it.
Robin Spindel
Interesting to learn more about what goes on in the orthodox community - also like that I couldn't easily guess who done it. Super quick read - give it a try
Jack Terry
It is a very fast-paced, mostly well written book. Thinking about it afterwards, it almost felt like a movie trilogy. The first third of the book was a little bogged down in a little too much exposition and a couple of attempts to come across as shocking and gritty but just seemed gratuitous. The middle part was tight, engrossing, made me want to keep reading. The final third is where I think the fast pacing did the greatest disservice to the novel because the ending suddenly seemed rushed and f ...more
Chris
There are many communities where outsiders are not welcome because they do not understand the culture and traditions. It is hard for someone without intimate knowledge of these things to truly understand the inner workings of a tight knit group and community. That is what the main character was up against in this interesting storyline.

Like most people, not understanding a culture like the Hasidic Orthodox, can lead to many questions and interest from outsiders. This book opens the door into the
...more
Nan
I'm always a bit worried when encountering a fictional representation of a journalist -- it can be infuriating to see the liberties taken with a role you know in reality (that's why I could only watch two hours of The Newsroom on HBO). So it was an extra pleasure to read Invisible City, a book whose protagonist is a young newspaper reporter working for a New York tabloid. Rebekah Roberts is a stringer, sent to crime scenes and celebrity stakeouts. Roberts' combination of adrenaline, cynicism and ...more
Marlene
Originally published at Reading Reality

Invisible City is the story of a search for identity wrapped in a murder mystery and a police cover-up. Several cover-ups. But no matter how convoluted the plot gets, what we’re left with at the end is the same conclusion that the protagonist arrives at: this investigation provided Rebekah Roberts with the excuse she needed to help her find her mother.

Both find as in locate, and find as in understand. Rebekah is aware, at least in fits and starts, that her
...more
Hallie
Brooklyn’s Hasidic community inhabits the eponymous “Invisible City” of Julia Dahl’s debut novel. Into those tradition-bound confines ventures Brooklyn hipster and recently minted journalist Rebekah Roberts. She’s used to being sent out on weird, mind- and body-numbing assignments, like waiting for hours in the freezing cold to get a quote from a woman the paper calls “Porn Mom’’ (she let her boyfriend take pornographic pictures of her children). Rebekah salutes and marches wherever editors send ...more
Karen
Rebekah Roberts is a twenty something "stringer" working for the New York Tribune. She is struggling to find her way through the fast paced newspaper world while making a name for herself professionally as a journalist. Rebekah desperately wants to create her own identity away from Florida and her loving Dad so she can finally overcome the lifelong anxiety created by her mother's abandonment when she was an infant. Rebekah is feisty, smart and talented and as she immerses herself into a story of ...more
Lesa
Julia Dahl's debut novel takes readers into one Invisible City, and her protagonist Rebekah Roberts, into two. While Rebekah and readers discover the Hasidic community of Borough Park in New York, she also discovers the hidden truths in her own life, her own Invisible City.

Rebekah Roberts is a few years out of a college, working in the city of every journalist's dream, New York. She's a stringer for the New York Tribune, taking any job the newspaper gives her, a different assignment every day. B
...more
Courtney Goldbeck
New reporter Rebekah Roberts is haunted by the mother who abandoned her to return to her secretive Hasidic family. After a childhood in sunny Florida with her adoring father and stepmother, Roberts moves to New York with dreams of becoming a renowned journalist. In Julia Dahl’s debut novel, The Invisible City, the world of print media is fading fast and Roberts lands a job as a glorified tabloid reporter, sent to the scene of the seediest crimes where she hopes to eek out a living reporting fact ...more
Sherry
Invisible City is narrated by Rebekah Roberts, a stringer for a New York tabloid newspaper. When she is asked to cover the discovery of a woman's body in a scrapyard, she becomes embroiled in the mystery of her death. Rebekah is drawn to the murdered woman's story because she was a Hasidic Jew, and Rebekah's estranged mother was also Hasidic. When Rebekah is presented with evidence that the police are not strongly pursuing the case because of the political clout of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish comm ...more
Elizabeth Swartz
an interesting mystery with an equally interesting glimpse inside the Hasidic community
Lindsey Silvestrini
I really love audio books, especially now that I've been listening to more of them. It makes me excited to get in my Van and drive because that's the only time I get to listen to them! It definitely makes the long drives go by faster and I get to get lost in a story without having to do the work of reading it!

Invisible City by Julia Dahl is read by a female, Andi Arndt and in this case was appropriate since our lead character is a female. Even though she does all the voices, it still helps when
...more
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Julia Dahl was born in Fresno, Calif., to a Lutheran father and a Jewish mother. She currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Julia has been writing about crime since 2004 when Seventeen magazine sent her to cover the story of a young Birmingham, Ala., girl who had been killed by her mother. Since then, she has worked as a freelance reporter at the New York Post, the deputy managing editor of The Crime R
...more
More about Julia Dahl...
Untitled Dahl #2 Run You Down (Rebekah Roberts Novels Book 2) Invisible ; Glass kitchen ; Invisible city ; Journey from darkness (Reader Digest Select Editions, volume 1, 2015)

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