by Lisa Jewell
Publication: Atria Books; October 13, 2020
About: Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct—accusations he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel forums, where he meets a charismatic and mysterious figure.
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 disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.
I am a huge fan of Lisa Jewell so I was crazy excited about her latest thriller, Invisible Girl. As typical with this author, there isn’t just one or two main characters, but instead, a group of equally significant characters that help weave this story together. There are the Fours: Roan, Cate, Georgia, and Josh. Roan is a child psychologist, Cate is a stay at home mom (for the most part), and Georgia and Josh are their teenage children. Owen lives across the street from the Fours. He’s somewhat of a recluse, a thirty-three-year-old virgin, and has just been suspended from his teaching position because of some shady behavior. Then there is Saffyre, a seventeen-year-old former patient of Roan’s who has taken up the hobby of following Roan after work every evening.
Once again, Lisa Jewell has written a novel where none of the characters are believable and few, if any, are even likable. Cate is over-bearing and paranoid. Roan appears to be a bit sleazy with the possibility of a God complex. Owen is creepy and honestly, pretty pathetic. Josh and Saffyre are basically just weird teenagers, but at times, very creepy. Honestly, Georgia is probably about as close as you could get to a normal, likable character in this novel. Oh and maybe Aaron also, Saffyre’s uncle. Anyway, the novel is told from Cate, Owen, and Saffyre’s POV centering around events leading up to and after Valentine’s Day. As the blurb says, Saffyre goes missing on Valentine’s night, so about 95% of Saffyre’s dialogue is prior to that evening. This was a bit confusing at times, because Cate and Owen’s dialogue is Valentine’s Day and after, but it eventually makes sense.
Saffyre goes missing but shares her back story leading up to her disappearance, Owen has been creepy as hell so he becomes the likely suspect, and Cate constantly stresses about where her family members are and if her marriage is o.k. That’s pretty much it for the plot. Seriously.
There is not a huge “aha” moment in this book. The guilty party/parties became blatantly obvious about 50-60% into the novel. So why did I keep reading? I honestly don’t know. I guess I kept waiting for some shocking twist to occur, but even the little twist at the end was not a surprise to me. I had already assumed that for a good part of the novel.
Invisible Girl is very long, slow, drawn-out, and compared to other Lisa Jewell novels – a let down. There are tons of positive reviews so check it out for yourself, but I wish I would have set this one aside early on and moved on to something else. Besides her trademark character development that I love, I can’t think of many positives about this novel.
*Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: Invisible Girl, by Lisa Jewell”
Wow! Our feelings about this one differed greatly. It was a 5 star read for me.
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I know I read your review! I love this author but did not love this one. A friend of mine just finished it yesterday and said she thinks it is one of her best, so maybe it’s just me, lol!
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