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The Invisible Girls: A Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Sarah Thebarge
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $4.01 (29%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

Now with a new postscript and reading group guide, perfect for book clubs.

After nearly dying of breast cancer in her twenties, Sarah Thebarge fled her successful career, her Ivy League education, and a failed relationship, and moved nearly 3,000 miles from the East Coast to Portland, Oregon, hoping to quietly pick up the pieces of her broken life. Instead, a chance encounter on the train with a family of Somali refugees swept her into an adventure that changed all of their lives.

Half a world away from Somalia, Hadhi was fighting battles of her own. Abandoned by her husband, she was struggling to raise five young daughters in a culture she didn't understand. When their worlds collide with Sarah's, Hadhi and the girls were on the brink of starvation in their own home, "invisible" in a neighborhood of strangers. As Sarah helped Hadhi and the girls navigate American life, her unexpected outreach to the family became both a source of courage and a lifeline for herself.

Exquisite, at times shattering, Sarah's enthralling memoir invites readers into her story of finding connection, love, and redemption in the most unlikely of places.

All proceeds from the sale of the book go toward a college fund for the five Somali Invisible Girls. For details, visit

Editorial Reviews


"This memoir combines good writing, dramatic events, and a thoughtful response to them."—World Magazine

"Wonderfully written, the book will have you staring through it, into a world that seems to have been made new. I am grateful there are new writers in the world like Sarah Thebarge. You'll get caught up in the strength of her kindness and the girls she describes even as we gain our focus to slowly see them, and so many others, for ourselves."—Don Miller, author of Storyline and Blue Like Jazz

"Intertwining her own excruciating story of loss and rejection with the stirring story of a family of Somali refugees, The Invisible Girls is a testament to unwavering tenacity, resilient faith, and ineffable grace."—Karen Spears Zacharias, author of The Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder

"Honest, enlightening, heart-touching and, at just the right times, funny. Sarah's expertly-crafted sentences sing and sometimes sting, flowing smoothly, then suddenly jumping off the page. The interweaving of her story with that of a Somali mother and daughters is masterful. This isn't the American dream. It's a vibrant and authentic story of loss, disenchantment, discovery, and a reawakening of faith and hope."—Randy Alcorn, author of Heaven and If God is Good

"I picked up Invisible Girls and could not put it down. Thebarge fixes a loving eye on a family of Somali girls and an unflinching eye on her harrowing ordeal with breast cancer. No one can lead you out of a desert better than the one who's already been there. Beautiful writer, beautiful book, beautiful soul."—Susan E. Isaacs, author of Angry Conversations With God

"A raw, honest and powerful witness of the dangerous mercy of God...Her story will humble you and inspire you."—Rick McKinley, Lead Pastor of Imago Dei Community in Portland, OR and author of A Kingdom Called Desire and This Beautiful Mess

About the Author

Sarah Thebarge is a speaker and author who grew up as a pastor's kid in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She earned a masters degree in Medical Science from Yale School of Medicine and was studying Journalism at Columbia University when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27. Sarah's writing has appeared in Christianity Today,, Relevant,, Raysd, and Just Between Us. Her writing for Christianity Today's This Is Our City project won first prize from the National Evangelical Press Association. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

Product Details

  • File Size: 400 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Jericho Books (April 16, 2013)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0092XN7ME
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,209 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story of love and hope April 22, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is am amazing book - two stories about a courageous women intertwine that tell the story of unconditional love and undying hope. It's a book about the human spirit and the Holy Spirit that "will always love us and will find us wherever we are." :)

The author's writing is succinct, direct, and rings with the truth. It's a beautiful book. And while I would not compare her 'characters' to Vonnegut as another reviewer did, (Ironic and downright weird), she writes about these real life girls and women with honesty through the eyes of love.

I know that others that have written reviews talk about the author's incredible charity - and that is true. But to me, those invisible girls gave an even greater gift back to the author.

I needed to read a story about courage, love and hope, and love undying. Thank you Ms. Thebarge for this book. I will pray for your invisible girls, and all invisible people, young and old. Thank you for reminding me that even when we feel invisible that there is always someone who sees us - and loves us - always.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular. April 20, 2013
Remarkable story. It has been years since I've had such an experience reading a book. I wanted to slow down to savor every image, every joke, every word, every syllable and at the same time simultaneously gulp it all down in one instant. This book will crack heart wide open if you let it. It will change your life if you let it. I look forward to reading anything this talented woman puts forth.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A riveting book about cancer, refugees, and God May 3, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a lover of memoir and an advocate for refugee ministry, Sarah Thebarge's "The Invisible Girls" quickly stole my heart.

In this book, Sarah weaves together her battle with breast cancer (which she was diagnosed with at the age of 27) with a chance encounter with a Somalian refugee family that changes her life. With brutal honesty, Sarah openly discusses the sadness and hopelessness inherent in both of these journeys as well as the surprising moments of joy she finds along the way. She eloquently describes how both her cancer and her experience with the refugee family impacts her faith. Yet she does so without hyperspiritualizing either. In her words, "Unlike what some people from my church tried to tell me, cancer was not a gift from God; it was more like a demon that escaped from hell."

Because of the honesty with which she shares her journey through both cancer and refugee ministry, the pages of this book are also filled with several profound insights regarding refugee ministry. At one point, Sarah describes how difficult it was for her to decide to ask the Somalian mom she'd befriended to share her story knowing her daughter would have to hear and translate it. She quickly realizes, however, that "she wasn't just translating words for me. She'd lived their story and nothing I could ask her to translate could be as bad as what they must have gone through already." Sadly, this is a truth that all who work with refugees must eventually confront. No matter how much we might want to, there is nothing we can do to shelter these families (even their children) from the horrors they've already experienced.

Later on in the book, Sarah describes the daunting task of helping her Somalian friends navigate social services so they can stay in their apartment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this story April 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this story from beginning to end. It made me cry and it made me laugh. Reading about the author's experiences with the Invisible Girls and their mother makes me want to reach out to those less fortunate. At times, the author was so broken as she fought her battle against cancer and reading her desperate pleas for God to find her, to tell her why, then understanding that through the darkest of days and a broken heart, she found purpose once again. A wonderful, heart touching story that will not be forgotten by anyone who reads it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing story April 25, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I went to my first book reading at Powells and heard the author read some chapters from this book. Yesterday, I cracked open the book, and ended up reading late into the night. It's a captivating story about lives intertwining in the most unusual way. I really appreciated Sarah's honesty at her own story, and her own barriers she encountered creating relationship between cultures. It's a quick read. Honest. Raw. It's inspiring, and challenges the rest of us to open our eyes to the invisible girls around us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Read April 23, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Miss Thebarge is a very talented writer, and I applaud her for sharing her story in such an incredibly honest way. Her story is entertaining at times, heart-breaking at times, but always powerful and compelling. It's an easy read, but will suck you in. Please read this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Invisible Girls July 2, 2014
I liked the Invisible Girls for the most part. Especially in the beginning through the middle part, it really caught my attention, and I enjoyed reading. The story of the Somali family and her battle against cancer were interestingly intertwined. Each chapter is super short and easy to read, which I liked a lot. I liked how she told the story including the choice of words. She was boldly honest and explicit about her battle against breast cancer, the relationship with her boyfriend, and the joy and challenges while she helped the Somali family.

While I continued to read, I was curious to find out about two things. The first one was how her faith in God would change through her experience having breast cancer. She was resentful and kept saying how the loving God could do this to her, and reading the back of the book, I figured that she remained to be a Christian. But why? In chapter 76 and in other chapters here and there, she kind of answered my question, but it was subtle to me. I expected someone who went though such a powerful experience and still believes in God would give me a more persuasive answer.... It might be obvious for Christians, but not for me.

The second one was why the author also was an “invisible girl.” I can easily understand the girls from Somalia can be called the “invisible girls,” but why her? Are we all invisible?

In my opinion this book started strong and ended somewhat weak. She didn’t even mention the status of her breast cancer in the end. After the Somali family moved to Seattle, everything kind of faded, and it didn’t leave me much impression, other than she wants to contribute to these girls’ college tuition.

Although there were questions that were not answered for me, I enjoyed this book and appreciated her openness to share her life story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A riveting, real-life story of human connection, discovery and triumph over adversity.
Published 13 days ago by Yussuf A Kalib
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Read it in 6 hours
Great book. Read it in 6 hours. A must read. Thank you. P
Published 24 days ago by Phyllis M. Bowers
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspiring!
This was a very interesting story of one young woman who made a difference that will last into eternity. I was amazed at the lengths Sarah went to, to reach out to this family. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Linda Lochridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved book
Published 1 month ago by Cathy Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Compassion, devastation and hope
Sarah interwove the story of her relationship with the girls and their mother and her own devastating struggle with breast cancer. It was compelling and so satisfying. Read more
Published 2 months ago by John Gunther
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Clarity
This author provided a clear insight into the effects of cancer and its treatment. Her ambitious goals of helping a family in need while dealing with her own problems was amazing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Caesar
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Couldn't put the book down!
Published 2 months ago by Mel
3.0 out of 5 stars Wish I had checked it out from the library
This book started out strong and interesting but trailed off into a snooze fest of unanswered questions (that I quickly lost interest in) and then a pitch for my cash. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elizabeth Brighton
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story of how we can help one another through ...
An amazing story of how we can help one another through the many difficulties in life. Once I started this book I could not put it down. Very well written. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Windy Here
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read!
The author draws you in right away and leaves us with a challenge to look for the invisible people in our spheres of influence. Read more
Published 3 months ago by suroller
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