But beyond the mere appreciation for the type of story this book tells, She Is Not Invisible is a beautifully written story that encapsulates so much. From her touching relationship with her young brother and the way they work as a duo to the way she interacts with the world - and how the world reacts to her. Or the way that story is told in a non-linear narrative because that's how Laureth thinks.
Despite being 'about' a blind girl, this is not a book about being blind. It doesn't seek to induce pity and nor does it resort to awarding its protagonist superhuman powers. Yet along the way it succeeds in very cleverly and subtly telling the reader a huge amount about being visually impaired.
His small cast are marvellous in emotion, dialogue and humour. Each and every action, no matter how far-fetched, feels entirely natural. The plot points could easily feel forced but in these hands they flow naturally. Another subtle beauty of the novel is what you experience when the novel is finished as it suddenly reveals many small details that could be overlooked. As they are revealed the wonder of the novel strengthens and becomes something special and different. I found myself comparing the book to the very successful novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. They share similarities, themes and quality of prose. From the big apple setting to the affected protagonists to the nuances in the structure and formatting of the book the two books are closely bonded, but yet enjoy a wide difference in storytelling feel.
I was thoroughly captivated by this smart and intriguing contemporary thriller with heart.
Marcus Sedgwick has written a story which really makes you think. He has referred to it as an iceberg and certainly the story can be read on two levels; on the surface a simple story of a girl, Laureth, accompanied by her young brother, Ben and his beloved soft toy, Stan, determined to find their missing father, in spite of Laureth's personal circumstances making this no easy task and, below the surface, a much more complicated story, concerning the nature of obsession and coincidence; all of which leaves you pondering and re-reading. Familial relationships are at the heart of this story and how these can engender love, confidence and faith. Laureth is awe inspiring and loveable. Her personal journey is totally absorbing.
Sedgwick's prose is as crisp and clear as always, without losing a single fathom of emotional depth, and Laureth and Benjamin will resonate soundly with anyone who has ever negotiated the ups and downs of sibling relationships.
She is Not Invisible is an exciting, thought-provoking story - a Scarlett Thomas or A. L. Kennedy for teenagers.
The author hasn't just provided you with a fast paced thriller, but he has also left you with ideas and puzzles to decipher. I challenge you not to come away from this book searching out the coincidences that occur in your life. I will definitely be recommending this book highly in the future as it stands out from the other YA books around at the moment.
There's another uncompromising aspect to this superb book. Marcus Sedgwick doesn't speak down to his teen readers. He tells it how it is, without footnotes or gloss, and it's up to the reader to decide how much they want to take from his books. A rollicking good adventure? No problem - that's there and easily available. Just let your eyes slide across the bits in italics and jump to the next event. It would be a shame to do that, though, because for those prepared to deal with it, there's much, much more in this book: theories and philosophies and ideas which stretch the reader and give the adventure far greater depth and resonance. Not many novels, for adults or younger folk, contain whole pages of notes on people such as Einstein, Jung and Koestler, but this one does, because it shows what Jack Peak believes on the nature of coincidence, and it is by understanding that that Laureth and Benjamin (with the help of Stan the stuffed raven) resolve the crisis.
This book is smart; it's like it has its own personality. It's full of surprises, and I instantly wanted to re-read it because no doubt I missed a lot of clever hints. With the power of probability, I think that if you're into books that deceive you and have you hanging on a thread on every page, you're 'almost certain' to pick this one up next time you're in a bookshop.
This is a book about coincidences, unconditional love and bravery. It is also about going with a gut feeling against the odds and the chance that just perhaps it will all come right in the end. Stannous and Ben are, perhaps, my favourite characters, often positive when life gets tough and understanding what it means to be needed. The story revolves around Laureth's father, a search across New York for a character who is missing and the mutual support between two siblings. This is an extraordinary tale, with brilliant descriptive passages. You can almost hear and smell New York. I was relieved that Stannous made it home...
What this book proves, is that Marcus is not only one of the greatest British YA writers, but one of the most versatile too. Unlike anything he has written before and a book that will reach a whole new audience. Bloomin' loved it.
When sixteen-year-old Laureth's father vanishes she is determined to track him down. So determined that she flies to New York to find him. But Laureth doesn't go alone; she takes her seven year old brother with her because she needs him. Laureth is blind and Benjamin is essential as her guide. Award-winning Marcus Sedgwick tells a pell-mell adventure as the children unravel the mysteries of obsession and coincidence as they solve the riddle behind their father's disappearance.