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Invisible Girl Hardcover – May 27, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Author Q&A with Mary Hanlon Stone

Mary Hanlon Stone lives in Beverly Hills, California and has been a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County for over two decades.

Q: In your words, what is Invisible Girl about?

A: It’s about a girl who didn’t grow up with any advantages who finds herself in treacherous waters when she is thrown in with a group of girls who have everything they have ever wanted. It’s about her journey to find out who she really is inside and that there’s more to life than just surviving--there’s love and friendship

Q: What inspired you to write Invisible Girl?

Over the years as a Deputy District Attorney prosecuting people who have abused children and teens I have grown to feel very protective over kids who don’t have anyone in their corner. I wanted to write a story where a kid like that can have a happy ending.

Q: What is the meaning of the title?

The title refers to all those kids who feel like less because they have been brought up to believe that they are not important. Our girl, Stephanie, is like that in the beginning of the book. By the end, she knows who she is and knows that she has a right to be seen, acknowledged and loved.

Q: What do you think makes Stephanie special as a character?

A couple of things. First her hunger for love is very real. Kids who grow up like she does are both starved for love and, at the same time, have a tough exterior shell. Stephanie is both tough and passive at the same time at the beginning. I admire her because she learns she’s worth something.

Q: You are a lawyer who prosecutes on the behalf of abused and neglected children. How did this affect the way you approached the telling of Stephanie’s story?

It was a very easy story to write because Stephanie is a composite of so many girls I have taken care of that I knew how she would react in all the situations I put her in because I’ve seen it so many times.

Q: You have assembled a team of teen girls to get the word out about Invisible Girl. How did you initially come into contact with these teens, and what have they taught you about the Internet and marketing?

I met the girls through my son’s school. I used to write plays that were trials for the kids to perform at the local courthouse. A lot of the girls were in these trials as lawyers or witnesses. I asked a couple to read invisible girl and give me their feedback. They really loved the book and told their friends about it. Then, the next thing I knew, I had twenty-five girls who wanted to read and then to promote the book. I thought this was a wonderful opportunity for them to learn about business so we started meeting at my house once a month for dinner and they all picked a title, like President of Marketing, or President of Public Relations (they all wanted to be Presidents or CEOs!) then I gave them a token salary, even though they tried to refuse it, because I wanted them to start learning that their time is valuable and they shouldn’t be afraid to talk about money because I don’t want them to think they have to take a second chair to men when they go out into the world of business. They are a complete joy for me to work with, they are so creative and enthusiastic. We brainstorm about ideas, and they have A LOT of them! I wasn’t even on Facebook when I started meeting with them. I’ve learned that if you want to reach teens, you have to start with the internet.

Q: Are you still a lawyer? How do you balance your job, your family, and your writing?

I am still a lawyer working full-time. I don’t know how balanced my life is at all, but I have a few basic rules. My kids and my husband always come first, my job as a Deputy District Attorney has to come second because victims depend on me. Writing, which takes the stress out of my brain is just something I have to do because I’m so happy when I’m doing it. I make time for writing when I’m driving (I write at red lights and use a little recorder), in the middle of the night, and between soccer games on weekends.

Q: If your audience could take on thing away from the experience of reading invisible girl, what would you want it to be?

That you should never give anyone the power to make you feel like less.

Q: With which character in your novel besides Stephanie do you identify or sympathize the most?

Even though I’m of a different cultural background that Amal’s mother, I really sympathized with her because she works hard and puts her child first.

Q: What are you working on now?

I’m working on a book called The Comedown Life which is about a girl who is brought up in a very wealthy world who is sent to live in a factory town with a father she barely knows.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10 Stephanie's abusive, alcoholic mother leaves their Boston home one night in a theatrical huff. Her weak-willed father cannot cope, so the 14-year-old is shunted across the country to a wealthy friend while the family figures out what to do. The friend's teen daughter is initially excited to include Stephanie in her clique, and Stephanie uses her Boston accent to make people laugh while spinning lies to keep them from knowing about her family's sordid past. However, after an overheard conversation, the queen bees turn on Stephanie. When a new girl appears and draws their fire, Stephanie is at first simply relieved to be out of the crosshairs but soon sees a different path and befriends the girl. Stone skillfully takes her protagonist from the bottom of a smelly closet where she is hiding from her mother's fists to a sunny, golden California beach club full of socially climbing girls concerned only with fashion, diets, boys, and possessions. It is as stark a change for readers as it is for Stephanie. She is in many ways younger than these teens, although she's had harder things to deal with, and her naïveté is heartbreaking. She learns from her trials, but there are no miracles. Stone portrays her growth believably, in small increments, with many slipups along the way. Geri Diorio, The Ridgefield Library, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 940L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; 1 edition (May 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399252495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399252495
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,668,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Hanlon Stone, Deputy District Attorney

Mary Hanlon Stone has been a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County for twenty-three years. The majority of her career was spent specializing in the prosecution of sexual assault and domestic violence cases, with extensive work with children and teenage victims and witnesses. Ms. Stone tried the first "Roofie" rape case in the nation, and is a national consultant for drug-related sexual assaults. Her cases have been featured on "E! True Hollywood Story", "City Confidential", "Inside Edition", "The O'Reilly Factor", "The Leeza Show", and German and Australian television. She recently tried the Mandeville Canyon Road Rage case. She attended the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School.

Her novel, invisible girl, was inspired by her work with teens.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Don't plan on picking up `Invisible Girl' unless you have the time to finish it. If not, you run the risk of running very late for whatever it is you have previously planned. (In my case, I missed the first 30 minutes of a good friend's twins' Bar Mitzvah.)

We've all seen the `fish-out-of-water' device. In this story, however, the tension is so tangible, you can't help but follow along, step by step, as 14 year-old Stephanie is thrust from her deeply-troubled, working-class home in Boston to the ultra-hip, superfast, first-class digs of family friends in Encino. Big trouble looms and your palms go clammy wondering just how big. As a mom, I know if you back a kid into a corner, he or she will lie. I cringed realizing Stephanie's dishonesty was bound to boomerang back at her. The storytelling is raw and honest and as I finished the last page, I couldn't help but wonder: had I inadvertently overlooked `invisible girls' in my own day-to-day life?

This writer has fun with words. The kids' dialogue is totally entertaining, especially when you see a smart character using words to slice another person into pieces while another character manages to use words to shield her from life's harsher side.

The story did a superb job of showing that there are all kinds of moms in this world; there was a mother who clearly wasn't, another who fell far short of the title, and finally one who was life-savingly amazing.

Eudora Welty is reported to have said that the purpose of good literature is to break down walls. In a straightforward manner,that is precisely what `Invisible Girl' manages to do.
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Format: Hardcover
I was hopelessly hooked by the second paragraph. Cried when I finished it - because it ended and I wanted more. And, I re-read it immediately after finishing it the first time. Seriously.

After Stephanie is deserted by her mother in Boston, she is sent away by her father to live with relatives in California. You will be struck by the collision of Stephanie's fantasy life with the reality of her new life in California. Especially heart wrenching for me was reliving the cutthroat world of teenage adolescence- I'm sure I must have tried to banish this reality from my memory bank (!) -and to be reminded of all the posturing, pandering, preening, and politicking that goes on in the battle for social positioning in the chick world.

Absolutely beautifully written by an amazing new talent. And, my teenaged sons also read it and loved it. Opened up many conversational opportunities for us.

To borrow from "Spinal Tap"- if 10 is the top, the most, all the way up- then this book is an 11. Most highly recommended!
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Yes, "Invisible Girl" is a page-turner filled with colorful dialog and vivid descriptions that wonderfuly bring the characters and their settings to life. It is, in a word, entertaining. However, it so much more. As a mom, "Invisible Girl" hit uncomfortably close to home in two ways. First, I doubt there is any American female who will be able to read certain parts without cringing retroactively -- remembering times as an Invisible Girl herself, or, worse, the tormentor of one or a coward who failed to speak up. The depictions of the characters' emotional interiors are so so real, readers will be reliving those cringe-ful moments in all their pimply glory, like it or not! Second, as the mother of a teenaged girl, the story brought home the painful reality that I am doubtlessly aware of a just a narrow slice of my daughter's life. Underneath teens' exteriors -- by turns placid, withdrawn, bombastic, even explosive -- lies a world beyond the full comprehension of any parent -- or even the teen herself. It is a rich and dramatic emotional land that can only be mined and examined later in life, through the lens of distance and maturity, even as it continues to influence that life. The author of "Invisible Girl" has successfully exposed this world, providing a window into its complexity that will open the eyes of those trying to understand themselves and their child. Highly recommended for thoughtful readers who also want to be entertained!!!
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Format: Hardcover
Being a guy living in Detroit, Michigan, I'm not really into "chick flicks" or books in general, but a friend turned me on to "Invisible Girl" and I have to say that I couldn't put it down. Besides being a great writer, Mary Hanlon Stone develops the characters in such a way that after reading just a few chapters, you feel that you actually know them.

Also great Los Angeles and Beverly Hills descriptions. Though I've never even been there, I feel like I have now.

Truly an excellent, entertaining book!!!
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Format: Hardcover
Stephanie is used to fading into the shadows. At school, she has no friends, preferring the solace of books. At home, things aren't any better, and Stephanie spends half her time hiding from her drunk and abusive mother. When her mom leaves and her father sends her to live with an old family friend across the country, Stephanie realizes she can no longer be invisible. Everything about her makes her stand out, and not in a good way. Her old clothes, her Bostonian accent, and her naturally darker complexion mark her as almost inferior in the world of wealthy LA blondes. Despite these stark differences, all Stephanie wants is to fit in, but this isn't so easy for the girl who's always been by herself. Desperate to find a place where she truly fits in, Stephanie starts to build a web of lies of a fake life. But it's not until this false bubble bursts and a new girl, who's more like Stephanie that she would've thought, moves to town that Stephanie can move forward just being herself.

Stone delivers an achingly heart wrenching and real coming of age story in her debut Invisible Girl. Readers will immediately connect to main character Stephanie because although not everyone has grown up with domestic abuse, many of Stephanie's thoughts, fear, and emotions are easy to relate to. Invisible Girl is no doubt an emotionally charged novel because of this. This emotional connection between the reader and Stephanie makes her situation seem all the more heartbreaking, and in turn, the ending all the more uplifting. Stone does a fantastic job of developing Stephanie's character and portraying her growth. It's shockingly realistic. There's just something about this novel that reaches out and grabs the reader's heart.
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