INVISIBLE GIRL by Mary Hanlon Stone


Age Range: 12 & up
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Stephanie’s abusive mother has abandoned her, and her father cannot care for her, so he sends her from Boston to live with distant relatives in southern California. Life with her cousin (named, ironically enough, Annie Sullivan) introduces Stephanie to the social politics of freshman girls. Annie’s clique grudgingly accepts Stephanie before they catch her in a web of lies about her past and ostracize her. Stephanie then befriends the new girl in town, Amal, whom Annie declares an instant enemy. Amal’s self-confidence and loving Muslim family give Stephanie a place to belong and the strength to tolerate, if not defend herself against, Annie. Stephanie often sounds like she is 11 instead of 14, comforting herself with vocabulary words and Nancy Drew novels. It’s unclear whether Stephanie’s immaturity, both physical and emotional, stems from her abusive mother. She is quick to observe the state of other girls’ bodies, particularly their breasts, so her naïveté about her own body and social situations doesn’t ring true. With a plot that lacks cohesion and a basically uninteresting main character, this novel’s a miss. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-399-25249-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2010