After staring at a blank screen for way too long I’ve decided that I really need a format for these longer reviews. So trying this simple one out for She is not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick.
The Blurb: Laureth Peak's father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers--a skill at which she's remarkably talented. Her secret: She is blind. But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness. She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.
The short of it: Great concept, but I found the execution lacking. Perhaps a tween reader would enjoy it more.
All the rest: So the idea of going to a strange city and finding their father through pattern and mystery sounds great. How will this blind girl navigate a strange country? What kind of danger will she be in (Lost? Mugged? Worse?) Her father is obsessed with the idea of coincidence and has been writing thoughts on it in a notebook for years and I really love thinky things like that. His notebook is found and Laureth and Benjamin set off to recover it, and then find their dad. The clues in the notebook are increasingly scary, and I can see how a younger reader would get caught up in the tension, but for myself all I could think was that it was pretty farfetched. A reader would really have to believe in all the coincidence that was being presented in order to believe that her dad was really in danger. I couldn’t really get past the point that the author was able to write whatever he wanted, so then it was just fake coincidence, which makes this whole discussion very meta. Anyway, even with an open mind, I found it hard to see past the writer to the story. This reminds me a lot of my experience with The Westing Game- I just could not get “into” the story and look past the writing and so it failed with me. And, without giving away the ending, it felt like he wasn’t sure how to conclude this great idea he had going, and the end doesn’t match the rest- the mystery building is just solved with everyday events, nothing to merit all that buildup. I think it’s entirely possible that the problem here is with the specific reader tho, and not the book itself. I’d recommend it to some younger readers- I think it would be possible for them to get wrapped up in the story and find it amazing.