About the Book

Title: She Is Not Invisible
Published: 2014
Swoonworthy Scale: 1

Cover Story: Big Face Is Not Invisible
BFF Charm: Marlin
Talky Talk: Psychology 101
Bonus Factors: Coincidences, Charles Wallace, Surprise Inside
Relationship Status: Dating a Smarty-Pants

Cover Story: Big Face Is Not Invisible

Ah, the love affair between YA covers and Big Face lives on! Even though I’m personally indifferent to this one, it at least makes references to the actual story. But I much prefer the U.K. version.

The Deal:

Laureth’s dad, Jack, has gone missing. Or, at least, that’s what she believes when the notebook containing research for his next book is found in New York City, on an entirely different continent than the one he’s supposed to be on. With her mum unwilling to look into her dad’s whereabouts, Laureth does what any rational teenager would do: take her 7-year-old brother, Benjamin, on a transatlantic flight to find their father in the most populous city in the United States by following a dubious lead. Best laid plan, you are not. 

There’s also a v. significant piece of information that I’ve omitted from my description. It’s not really spoiler-y—it’s in the official blurb, and the book doesn’t really try to hide it—but it isn’t literally spelled out until a few chapters in. 

BFF Charm: Marlin

BFF charm with teary eyes hugging a heart

Oof, Laureth brings out the worrywart tendencies in me. I mean, she’s a smart and capable girl, so this is not a knock on her thinking she can do these things but she just can’t. Her intentions are sweet and her heart’s in the right place, but what she’s doing is just supremely unwise. Going to NYC without a food game-plan!? IS SHE SERIOUS?! Oh, and kidnapping her own brother to look for their father in a foreign city. That’s recklessly brave, too. 

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

There’s barely has anyone Laureth’s own age to be potentially paired up with her, save for a chance encounter. But this book isn’t about the swoon, anyway. 

Talky Talk: Psychology 101

Laureth narrates most of the story, with excerpts from Jack’s notebook filling out the gaps. For someone who partakes in far too much armchair psychology, I’ve actually never taken a single psych course, so maybe the theories that Jack writes about will be less head-trippy to someone else. But these thought-provoking ideas are sure to engage readers, regardless of relevant background knowledge.

As Laureth digs deeper into her father’s work, tension and suspense escalate, culminating in a resolution that I didn’t see coming. Marcus Sedgwick also does a great job of normalizing diversity without evoking an after-school special. Although this aspect is never ignored (or, should I say, invisible), it’s not the characters’ sole defining trait, either. It’s almost like—gasp!—they’re just regular people?! Mind-boggling, I know. 

Bonus Factor: Coincidences

Blackboard with a hand writing a physics equation E=mc2

What do mathematics, Carl Jung and quantum physics have to do with coincidences? Quite a bit, actually, according to Jack’s obsession with the latter. 

Bonus Factor: Charles Wallace

Charles Wallace, the little brother in Wrinkle in Time, looking cute and inquisitive

In addition to being a sweetie pie, Benjamin is a bookworm that takes a stuffed toy raven named Stan with him everywhere he goes. So obviously, this makes him a friendless weirdo because little kids can be jerkfaces. Poor little Benjamin!

Bonus Factor: Surprise Inside

Sherlock, from the TV show of the same name, looking surprised

The second I finished this book, it had me furiously flipping through its pages to find what I had missed. WELL PLAYED, BOOK. 

Relationship Status: Dating a Smarty-Pants

This book keeps me on my toes, constantly challenging the way I think—but not like one of those wannabe intellects that tries to make itself seem smart by making you feel dumb. When I’m with this book, I just feel smarter by proximity, y’know? Not only does it have brains, but it has plenty of heart, too. I’m glad I took the time to get to know its story and expand my understanding of the world around me.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Roaring Brook Press. This review was originally posted on Kirkus Reviews in exchange for monetary compensation, which did not affect or influence my opinions. She Is Not Invisible is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.