Primary Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller, Mystery
Published: 13 October 2020 by Atria Books
Page count: 368
My Format: eARC via NetGalley
Would I recommend it: Yes
Commission Link: Buy Invisible Girl
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads
Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel—involuntary celibate—forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.
Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.
Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.
I’m a fan of Lisa Jewell and I plan to read all of her books at some point. So far, I have read and reviewed I Found You, The Family Upstairs, and One-Hit Wonder. There is just something about her stories that draw me in and I think each new book gets better and better! So, I was excited to get approved for an ARC of her new novel on NetGalley. Here are my pros and cons for Invisible Girl:
- Like some of Jewell’s other novels, this story is told from multiple points of view – Owen, Saffyre, and Cate. What makes this format interesting in this particular story is that the different POVs serve to highlight prejudices people have, and how different people can witness the exact same thing but interpret it entirely differently.
- This is a slow burn novel, but the pacing was actually ideal. Not a lot was really happening in the story for quite a while. We, as readers, are observing the lives of three people for the first half of the novel. We are learning about their habits, their families, their issues, their needs, their faults, and their thoughts. All of this foundational information is very important and the pacing really picks up when their lives’ are forced to intersect. I actually took a note while reading this book that even the chapters start to change as the story picks up speed. The book starts with longer, lingering chapters, but as the story progresses the chapters get shorter and more abrupt as they switch quickly from POV to POV. It almost felt like the first half of the book was the slow climb on a rollercoaster to the top of the first fall! The tension in the story was definitely building to a crescendo!
- Owen Pick is an inexperienced, pitiable, misunderstood, and wretched character. He is quite complex and I thought he was very well-written. You will get frustrated by him and feel a bit sorry for him in equal measure. His backstory is heartbreaking.
- Saffyre is also a well-written character with a lot of complex issues. I got pretty frustrated with some of her actions and decisions, but her backstory helped me to understand more about what she does and why she does it.
- All of our POVs suffer from the same thing – they all want to be seen, understood, loved, and valued. It was interesting to watch how each of them uniquely tried to satisfy that need.
- I thought this story had some good lessons. First, be careful what kind of things you get involved with, particularly on the internet. Second, don’t pretend to be something you aren’t just to “fit in”. Third, it probably isn’t smart to get so drunk that you blackout or lose your memory about things you may or may not have done, particularly if you have been previously accused of improper conduct. Fourth, be careful about jumping to conclusions or making rash judgments about people just because they are different from you.
- This book includes some scenes of sexual abuse, but Jewell always handles those situations delicately and I appreciate that. I’ve stated previously that I think it is an art to write about violence and psychologically traumatic experiences without being gratuitous or graphic. Jewell always handles these scenes well.
- The ending has a tiny little twist – if you blink you’ll miss it! Overall, the ending was very satisfying.
I really like Lisa Jewell’s books. She writes contemporary stories that are compelling and captivating… and this book is no exception! I definitely recommend it.
Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for a free eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy Invisible Girl. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)