From School Library Journal
Grade 6-8-Thinking and talking are 11-year-old Jake's favorite things, next to football and fish. When eccentric Stella Daly follows him home one day, convinced he could be a friend, she is right. And Mrs. Kennedy, an elderly new neighbor, takes an interest in both children. The third big change comes with the arrival of Jake's baby sister. At first resentful of her and his parents, he grows to bond with Daisy. But trouble lies ahead. Jake and Stella have a falling out. Then one day the accidental death of one of Stella's sisters alters all of the characters' lives forever. With the help of Mrs. Kennedy, Jake puts aside his anguish to be a true, supportive friend to Stella. Parkinson examines invisible, fragile ties among people, sometimes calling for self-examination in order to focus on others who may be, as Mrs. Kennedy puts it, more important than oneself at any given time. She infuses Jake with strength that he did not realize he had. The development of Stella's family is a little bare-bones in terms of why they are so eccentric, so quick to change moods, and readers need to know more about them to understand Stella's behavior. Still, Something Invisible
is a quality novel that will appeal to readers interested in words and how they define relationships, and who prefer thoughtful, wise books over those teeming with action and adventure. For any child experiencing what Jake is going through, this is an ideal read.-Tracy Karbel, Glenside Public Library District, Glendale Heights, IL
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Gr. 4-7. In this quiet, character-driven novel, Parkinson lyrically examines one boy's summer of self-discovery. Eleven-year-old Jake's favorite things are "thinking and talking . . . next to football and fish." What he doesn't care for is his baby sister's crying, his stepfather's clumsy attempts to befriend him, and his friend Stella's gaggle of younger siblings that follow them everywhere. But it is through Stella's loving example that Jake learns to appreciate being a big brother, and it is Stella who points out that he actually has "One more [father] than most people." When one of Stella's little sisters is killed in a tragic accident that Jake feels inadvertently responsible for, he must learn to overcome his feelings of guilt to be the kind of friend to Stella that she has been to him. Using an economy of words, Parkinson has created a thoughtful, introspective story of love, loss, and the strength of families that is reminiscent of Kevin Henkes' Olive's Ocean
The secondary characters are fully realized, and short chapters, along with brisk dialogue, pace the narrative nicely to its satisfying conclusion. Jennifer HubertCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved