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Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Book Review: The Invisible Boy by Alyssa Hollingsworth


Nadia wants to be a reporter. So when she sees her classmate she has dubbed "Paddle Boy," who inexplicably broke her family's second canoe paddle, she follows him around, taking notes. Her dog gets swept off into a storm drain and she's worried he's going to drown. When a mysterious boy appears out of nowhere, saves her dog, and vanishes again.

Obviously she's now got a bigger story to report! Emulating her hero, Lois Lane, she tries to find the boy she dubs Invisible Boy, as that's obviously his secret power. Paddle Boy (who lobbies for a new superhero name) annoying tags along, and they do eventually meet the boy, who lives in the basement of a house on their street, can only talk with them when his "foster mother" isn't home, and doesn't seem to go to school. It takes them a while to figure out what's going on--he's been trafficked and is being forced to work for free all day. What will Nadia do once she figures it out?

Luckily the ending really works. It's not one of those implausible crazy endings you sometimes see. Her aunt is a lawyer who actually works with human trafficking (she never understood her aunt's job and thought she worked with traffic as in cars and roads.) And in the end, after a bit of an adventure, they go to grownups for help. The ending was exciting and an adrenaline rush and it doesn't read like a book with an agenda--it reads like a story about a girl who gets caught up in something over her head that she eventually needs help with. This truly could happen to anyone. Luckily Nadia is a persistent, loyal, and determined girl.

This book is published by Roaring Brook, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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