A young girl just shy of graduating high school acquires a new gift and a way to literally hide from the world. “Sometimes I disappear,” she explains.
Lola, self-described as “fat” and “freakishly tall,” lives a lowly existence. Her parents, desperately clinging to their youth, barely acknowledge her; her sister belittles her; and she’s a target for bullies. She finds solace in her love of writing, her BFF Charlie (short for Charlene) and her maternal grandmother, affectionately called Gran. Any wish she had to become invisible in the eyes of cruel teenagers is suddenly a reality, as she vanishes from others’ sight and is neither seen nor heard. Lola soon realizes that she disappears during emotionally intense moments. Bannon’s debut novel adequately captures the life of a bullied teen: the dread of facing classmates at school, the self-loathing and the incessant anger that may be unleashed onto others. A standout scene features Lola disappearing at a clothing store, incensed at her mother’s resolve to buy her a dress. She calmly sits and watches as her mother and a salesgirl frantically search for her, and the fact that she easily explains away her vanishing speaks volumes about her mother’s lack of interest in her daughter. Lola’s object of affection is Jon, but her relationship with Charlie is more complex, particularly considering that Charlie’s sexual preferences are teasingly ambiguous throughout most of the story. The novel, which touches upon mature themes and showcases some colorful language, seems to be aimed at a young adult audience.
Absorbing, warm and occasionally playful—the story of a young woman whose invisibility helps her to better see herself, and helps others to see who she really is.