I read this book as part of the shortlisting process for the Hounslow Teen Read Award 2015. It begins with the narrator, Laureth Peak, negotiating Heathrow’s Terminal Five building looking for the check-in desk for a flight to New York. She has her brother in tow and he is accompanied by his fluffy raven, Stan. The first line ‘One final time I told myself I wasn’t abducting my little brother’. Hmm, why would she be doing that? As he is only seven and a little bit annoying you have to ask yourself why she would want to.
The answer soon becomes obvious. Laureth’s father is an author. Laureth is not invisible but she is blind. She is 17 and helps her dad with his website. He is off chasing a story when the website receives an email saying that someone in New York has found her dad’s precious notebook containing all his material for his latest book. His latest book is all about coincidence. Laureth knows that her dad would never go anywhere without his notebook and starts to worry that something bad has happened to him. But, she needs her brother to help her negotiate the world outside, particularly the airport and New York City.
The underlying story about her parents marriage is an interesting aside. She knows that they are problems but she is unaware of what they are. Her dad is exploring the theory put about by Jung that life is a sequence of coincidences, buoyed up by an incident that happened to him on a train. The book is based on the authors own theory about coincidence that he relates at the end. He has a favourite number (354) and it always seems to crop up. He has stayed in hotels where he has the same number room time after time, train seats, flight numbers; all contain this number. so, is it a coincidence or does the number have another significance?
I liked this book. I liked the characters of Laureth and Benjamin (and Stan). Laureth is a strong individual and dealing with her disability in a positive and enlightening way. She doesn’t want people to see her (pardon the pun) as a blind girl, she wants people to see her as Laureth. The passages from the book were a little tedious but overall it was well written. It also makes you think about coincidence. Does everything we do have a connection? or are all these random events just that, random?
Marcus Sedgwick’s books are usually pretty dark so this one was a welcome change; and it wasn’t set it Russia! Give it a go, it will open your eyes to the world of the blind teenager and how they are treated by the rest of the world.