An intriguing and unusual novel about the struggles of growing up, especially in a world where unseen obstacles are everywhere.
Laureth Peak is concerned when she receives an email from a stranger notifying her that they have found her father’s notebook. To add to that her father has not replied to her texts and calls, which made Laureth feel alarmed. Based on this minimal evidence, and a gut feeling, she takes her 7 year old brother with her and embarks on a journey to New York, the place where the notebook had been found.
I thought that the book was well-written, mainly because Sedgwick made the characters stand out, as well as likable. There was a variety in the characters, however I disliked that (spoiler) in the end, the antagonist of the whole novel was just a stereotypical robber. One you can find in most books. I thought that the novel had lots of potential because Laureth is blind, and this was an interesting perspective to take; I think in some scenes Laureth’s blindness was portrayed very well, yet at other times you almost couldn’t tell, so I thought that there should have been more of a balance or a constant way that Laureth saw the world, as it were.
Laureth has an amiable character; she is intelligent, thoughtful and resilient. And she’s blind. I loved this twist because it gave the book an unusual perspective which is rarely found in novels. It makes you appreciate your sight even more, and how everything we take for granted, like going on our phones, becomes so much harder and complicated due to a disability. And it was because of this that I drew comparisons between She Is Not Invisible and The Curious Adventure… as they both feature teenagers with a varying disabilities. Lots of people in the novel were prejudiced against Laureth just because she couldn’t see, and despite this Laureth would still carry on and continue to be irrepressible, which I thought was inspiring because she didn’t let it get in the way of her plans. My favourite parts in the book was when she was interacting with her younger brother, because that showed that even though Laureth was in charge, due to her age, there was still a lot of dependence on her brother because of her disability. And then there were completely normal conversations between them which was a curious contrast.
Benjamin is Laureth’s younger brother. He was helpful and cheerful enough, showing all the characteristics that a 7 year old boy would normally have except one. Whenever he touched an electronic device, it would turn into a black mirror and become useless. This was an unnecessary trait for Benjamin to have, because it made the novel at times have a slightly unrealistic feel, where Benjamin was almost had a superpower, making it hard as a reader to know if this was meant to be novel happening in our world, as that kind of trait only belongs in fantasy.
Aside from the characters, the plot line in itself is quite weak, because it is a big leap to go from, my dad has not answered my texts, and has lost a precious notebook to HE’S GONE MISSING, and suddenly go on a journey top find him. As I mentioned earlier, I think it is a shame that the plot was mundane in a way, because in today’s world there are hundreds of people who have written books about people going missing, and this one wasn’t that different except that the protagonist had a visual disability. Yet in the book, this wasn’t expressed enough, enough at least to make the book ‘different’ in my mind from all those other similar stories. I also thought that the bit he mentioned about Laureth’s school seemed to captivate me really quickly, but it was only mentioned in several paragraphs, so I would have preferred to have had a bit more information about that aspect of Laureth’s life!
All in all, I’d rate this book 7/10, because it had an interesting perspective and was well-written, but was let down because of a slightly unoriginal plot. Enjoy!