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 Austria, 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.
I was sent a copy of this book to review by the lovely folks at Fierce Fiction, mainly because Nina over there knows I'm a big fan of Marcus Sedgwick. Every one of his books I've read, I've enjoyed immensely and came away amazed at his skill as a writer of thrills and mystery. I can't recommend his books highly enough.
She Is Not Invisible is Marcus' latest offering and already grips you in with the gorgeous cover art and a blurb that had me hooked straight away without even turning one page. Laureth is sixteen and after an odd message about her father from somewhere he shouldn't be, she takes herself and younger brother to New York City to find their Dad. Things are more complex than a runaway children story as Laureth is also blind so her brother are her guiding eyes through the city and mysterious disappearance. We roam the city finding clues and curious characters along the way and the mystery becomes more and more confusing and worrying.
I got the strong feeling with this read that Marcus must have had a real passion about the subject matter. The idea of coincidence and the mysteries it creates seems to be something that holds the writer in the story and perhaps Sedgwick himself. I found myself noticing numbers everywhere and there is a slight twisty bonus at the end of the book that blew my mind. The concept of the book is very clever and I can imagine took a lot of work to pull off so effectively. That alone deserves a round of applause.
The story itself captures Sedgwick's usual flare for the haunting and thrilling. I found She Is Not Invisible to be a the sort of book I didn't want to leave in case something happened while I was working or sleeping. A huge element in the story, handled superbly, is the main characters blindness. Laureth has had to deal with the world as a blind person all her life and to confront a world and unknowns from her point of view makes this story stand out hugely for me. We tend to rely on visuals and their description in writing and this character gives us a new perspective on the world, a new way of seeing. It's amazing really.
A stunning book with main character who will stay with you for a long time.
Published by Indigo, an imprint of Orion Books and is available here and bookshops now