She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick – Guest Post & Review

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.

My Review

She is Not Invisible is a bit of a strange story, beautiful and entrancing, but definitely bizarre in places (in a good way)! I’ve never read anything like this ever before and I found myself pouring over the pages at an alarming rate, because I was so interested to find out what was going to happen next.

It’s a very hard storyline to try and put into words. We have a blind 16 year old called Laureth Peak and quite a strange little boy (Laureth’s brother) called Benjamin. The pair embark on a journey to America, all alone, not even knowing where they are going. They just want to find their father, who’s notebook has been found in New York. Laureth knows something is seriously wrong and decides to make her way there.

You see, their father is a writer, who’s works are quite well known and loved, well his older stuff anyway. He has been working on a book about coincidence for years and not really getting anywhere with it. Has his work turned into a dangerous obsession?

This story isn’t just about one missing bonkers writer though. This is a brave and courageous story of self discovery, independence, responsibility and a journey of finding your way in the world.

Laureth is a gorgeous character, who I really liked watching grow and develop throughout this story. I think she is a very mature 16 year old and her very special bond with her little brother is very beautiful indeed!

Benjamin is a very intelligent boy, he is very brave and very kind and thoughtful. He guides his big sister with ease and she truly relies on him. He made me smile so many times, but more so when interacting with, Stan (his stuffed Raven).

I really liked that Mr Peak had bonkers moments, nonsense moments, babbling moments, but also moments of total brilliance! In among the madness there is some method – if you can work it out.

There is a real air of mystery surrounding this storyline and I was very excited at reading the notebook snippets and watching Laureth try and put the clues together. Everything bumped along at a nice pace, then blew up at the end section, which had some rather chilling scenes…..

All in all, She is Not Invisible is a stunning story that captures the imagination and holds it until the very end. Readers will be in awe of these beautiful characters and their journeys. To be completely honest, I can’t wait to read it all over again.

There are so many quotes that I adored, but I’ll leave you with this one because it made me smile!

‘It’s when he talks like that that mum goes quiet, and then dad says even more peculiar stuff, then she has another glass of wine or two.’

4 / 5 Stars!

*Special thanks to Indigo for the review copy*

 
 Guest Post
(Favourite Childhood Reads)

I’ve got several friends who are illustrators, and at least two of them became illustrators probably because of something that happened to them in early childhood: they got ill.

Being stuck in bed for months led to these two friends developing their drawing skills, so that by the time they got to art school, they were pretty far ahead of their peers. I’m not an illustrator, but I did spend a few weeks ill in bed as a child. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, about ten, I think. I was stuck at home, enjoying not being at school, and keeping myself going by reading, reading a lot. I don’t know that I can claim that this made me a writer, but I do remember the intense joy I felt when one day I read five books.

Okay, two of them were very short and none of them was a modern day children’s doorstop, but I felt so proud at having finished them all. I can’t remember what a single one was now, but the chances are that one of them was by Susan Cooper, whose Dark is Rising sequence remains my favourite series of books from early childhood. How amazing then, that later this month, I get to interview Susan in front of a live audience at Waterstones Picadilly about her first new book in seven years… If I let the audience ask a single question, I will be amazed.

Another great writer who I loved at the time was Peter Dickinson. His Changes trilogy foreshadows so many teen novels of the 21t century, and I loved every weird moment of it.

I think weird was what tickled me as a child reader. It still does. I didn’t want to read about kids like me doing stuff like I did (ie boring kids being boring). I wanted to fly away with Bilbo as he hunted for gold, and later, I wondered whether Steerpike in Gormenghast was good or bad, until I read far enough to realise the truth (he’s very bad).

It took me a few goes to finally get to Mount Doom with Frodo, but I’m glad I stuck at it, and by then, I was reading vast amounts of American sci-fi, some of it good, much of it bad. I dabbled with the horror novels the other boys were passing around at school, but they didn’t really appeal. And then, as a slightly older teenager, I found that I had found my way to more mature things: Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, and Albert Camus (of course) and by then, the door was open. No going back. That day in bed reading five books made me a reader, maybe even a writer too.

About the author:

MARCUS SEDGWICK was born and raised in East Kent in the South-east of England. He now divides his

Alongside a 16 year career in publishing he established himself as a widely-admired writer of YA fiction; he is the winner of many prizes, most notably the Branford-Boase Award, the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. His books have been shortlisted for over thirty other awards, including the Carnegie Medal (five times), the Edgar Allan Poe Award (twice) and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (four times).

Marcus was Writer in Residence at Bath Spa University for three years, and has taught creative writing at Arvon and Ty Newydd. He is currently working on film and other graphic novels with his brother, Julian, as well as a graphic novel with Thomas Taylor. He has judged numerous books awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Costa Book Awards.
time between a small village near Cambridge and the French Alps.

Follow #NOTINVISIBLE
http://www.marcussedgwick.com

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