Review

Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

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5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Most sixteen year olds would probably be terrified at the very idea of travelling to New York with no-one but a much younger brother (and his stuffed toy raven) for company, with no idea of where they will be staying or what they’ll find when they reach their destination. Laureth Peak is looking for her father, who is prone to disappearing for several days at a time, but this time she has reason to think something bad has happened. So, accompanied by her little brother, she steals her mum’s credit card, buys two plane tickets to New York, and flies across the Atlantic. You might say that perhaps taking her brother with her would only make the search more difficult, but here’s the thing – Laureth is blind.

Obviously I can’t say this book was an accurate depiction of what it is to be blind. I have no right to say that, nor do I have any idea what it would be like. But I do feel that Marcus Sedgwick’s writing both revealed and hid things from the view of the reader, as if something was just out of your sight or a little blurry – and at times, completely unseen. With his descriptions, which were of course Laureth’s, I was never able to get a clear cut picture of the scene around the characters. Just like Laureth, I relied on Benjamin (her little brother) for images of the surroundings, and this worked really well.

Disabilities and impairments are not often represented in Young Adult fiction, or fiction in general, that frequently. Often, they seem to enhance another ability or sense in a superhero-esque way, or make the character seem weak and helpless. But Laureth is not weak, or helpless. She doesn’t know any other way of life, being born blind, and she doesn’t resent the fact that she was. She lives a normal life, and it gives out such a positive message. Her blindness barely hinders her, and her main fear is not being unable to do something, but people being aware that she is blind and judging her. I don’t really want to say she is brave, for fear of sounding patronising, but that’s what she is. I’d be pretty scared of flying to New York by myself, and I’m twenty-three – and Laureth doesn’t even know what she’ll find at the other end. She is intelligent and mature, and her narrative voice is lovely, as well as wonderfully quirky at times – mostly thanks to her dad’s journal entries.

I thought that She Is Not Invisible was a truly delightful book, highly original and a breath of fresh air. The way that Laureth and Benjamin worked together was adorable, not to mention the ‘conversations’ between Benjamin and his toy raven, Stan. It’s not particularly fast-paced, and some may find the portions of Laureth’s father’s journal dull – but no book is going to please everyone. A very thought-provoking read.

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: February 2014

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

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Last month I read a total of eight books – less than January, but no novellas or graphic novels this time. Cash: The Autobiography of Johnny Cash (with Patrick Carr), Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick, Lockstep by Karl Schroeder, Paper Towns by John Green, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson and The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris.

Standout books include The Final Empire, The Gospel of Loki and Cash: The Autobiography of Johnny Cash – one of my favourite musicians ever, his life was absolutely fascinating to read about. I’ve now read twenty-three books towards my goal of fifty this year, but I’m unsure about raising it just yet.

Challenge progress:

  • I read four more books towards the Avengers vs. X-Men Challenge, and managed to beat this month’s boss – Crimson Dynamo! Gooooo X-Men! *waves mutant flag*
  • Another one ticked off of the Dragons & Jetpacks Ultimate Booklist Challenge, which handily also happened to be February’s Fantasy Book of the Month!
  • I’m slowly finishing off my TBR Pile 2013 Challenge – I achieved my goal for the year last year, but I had a list of thirty books, and aimed to read at least fifteen in 2013. Now I want to read the rest throughout 2014.
  • And finally, the Review Copy Clean-up Challenge! I read three review copies this month, which isn’t quite as many as I’d hoped to – but my Netgalley ratio is now 55.5%, which is a bonus. I still have to review one of the books, although that one was from Goodreads.

Currently reading:

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Reviews on the blog this month:

Other posts:

Upcoming:

  • A couple of reviews, including She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick and The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.
  • A post about my time at the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which I visited on 19th February!
  • The usual discussions and features will return, minus Weekly Roundup which has become rather infrequent as I’m trying to not buy books. CRAZY, I know.

Off the blog:

Well as I mentioned, I was ill at the end of February… I had really bad tonsillitis in November (during Sci-Fi Month!) so I was really worried it would be another case of that – but luckily it was just a throat infection and cold. Earlier in the month I visited the Harry Potter Studio Tour with one of my best friends which was amazing, but more on that in another post! I then had another best friend to stay for a few days, and it was so lovely to see her – we met up with another friend from uni and had a lovely day out at a National Trust place nearby, then went out for tapas in the evening. I’m really quite scared at how fast the year is going, see as I’ll be moving to the Netherlands in mid-August and I have a LOT to sort out before then. Better get on it!

And that was my February! I remember writing up the Review Copy Cleanup post quite clearly, so I think it’s gone a *little* too quickly for my liking. How was your month?

Past Features, Recap

Weekly Roundup #32 + meeting Mary Beard!

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My ‘Weekly Roundup’ is where I share the books I have received in the past week, whether bought, gifted, borrowed etc.

Bought

  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – I think I first spotted this one through following Felicia Day on Goodreads. I’m not sure how romance-y it is, so I don’t know how much I’ll like it, but we’ll see! It is about an assassin after all…

Won

  • She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick – I won this from Goodreads. I’ve seen it around a lot recently and heard some good things about it.

On Sunday, I got to meet Mary Beard!

I also just wanted to quickly share some photos from this Sunday, when I met Mary Beard at Cheltenham Literature Festival. If you’ve not heard of her before, she is a classicist and a Don at Cambridge University. She’s written some fantastic books and made some wonderful TV shows, and I really, really admire her.



Her talk was about her recent book, Confronting the Classics, and how the ancient world is often presented in the modern day. It was really fascinating, and I plan on getting hold of her book at some point – sadly the hardback is £25 and I can’t really afford it right now. I told her that I’d studied ancient history and archaeology, and my plans for the future: I want to be a museum curator. It was so wonderful to meet a big role model of mine!

I got her to sign my copies of Pompeii and It’s A Don’s Life, and she even added in an extra message after I told her of my plans! Now all of the books that I own written by her are signed – when I was working at the festival last year I picked up a signed copy of All in a Don’s Day. That was also the last day of the Cheltenham Literature Festival – now to look forward to next year’s line-up!