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The Last Invisible Boy Hardcover – October 21, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5–7—This illustrated novel, reminiscent in style of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Abrams, 2007), is sure to have huge appeal. Finn Garrett tells the tender yet humorous story of how he begins to disappear following his beloved dad's sudden death. The 12-year-old awakens the morning after the day when everything changes to find a strand of white hair and less "pinkness" to his skin. Each day he grows whiter and less visible. He begins to write a memoir, which is really an account of his and his family's grief over their devastating loss. While poignant and sad, the book is ultimately upbeat as they begin to heal. At times Finn feels he is being erased because he failed to save his dad. At other times he wonders if he is aging in order to get closer to him. He recounts memory after memory, ultimately realizing the importance of them, and of being the keeper of his father's stories. Finn sees a therapist, and eventually he, his mother, his grandpa, his little brother, and his friend Melanie move beyond their initial pain. Finn's invisibility reverses itself and he becomes a boy who has managed to hold on to the world. The book's engaging, intimate tone is enhanced by Finn frequently addressing readers. Stop signs placed at points when he is overwhelmed with feeling add to the tenderness. The language and style are pitch-perfect middle school, and the illustrations ably capture the boy's memories and moods.—Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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From Booklist

Finn Garret is disappearing. Every day he wakes to find a little less pigment reflected in the mirror. It all began, he says, on “The Terrible Day That Changed Everything, the day I lost my dad forever.” Finn’s first-person chronicle of his life after his father’s death strikes a balance of honest humor and poignancy. The narrative structure is clever and affecting: the less the world sees of Finn, the more the reader comes to know. Finn’s journal, an assemblage of log entries, quizzes, drawings, and directions to the reader, is genuinely adolescent, funny, and moving. Vivid details, like Finn’s obsession with saltwater taffy, add depth to the characterizations and grow in meaning as the story progresses. In style, Finn’s diary sits somewhere between those in Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007). But Finn’s distinct narrative voice, and the sweet precision with which the story unfolds, give this title a touching resonance all its own. Grades 4-7. --Thom Barthelmess

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 930L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416957979
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416957973
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,964,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alex H on November 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I enjoyed reading THE LAST INVISIBLE BOY, by Evan Kuhlman, but it isn't necessarily a happy story.

The book is about a 12-year-old boy named Finn Garrett who has just lost his father. Told in a journal/diary style of writing, the story gives readers a glimpse into this boy's journey of recovery as he records his thoughts and emotions going from sadness to anger to confusion to guilt.

It continually breaks the "third wall," as the character Finn addresses the reader from time to time by asking questions etc., always including the reader on this trip.

I don't know why some reviewers found the story boring, because it is talking about a very delicate subject matter--the death of a parent--and so I'm not sure how you make that interesting. In any case, I never found the story boring and thought it was done with absolute sincerity.

And the drawings by J.P. Coovert are cute and soften the blow of the many sad journal entries that you encounter along the way. The story does end on a happy note so it's not all melancholy (btw, some parts are even funny).

This is such a wonderful book and it really shows how people, especially young people, go through the grieving process in their own way. And more importantly, that it's OK to go through the sadness because you will come out on the other side.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By betty l. dravis VINE VOICE on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm accustomed to reading juvenile books that are geared for adults too. Initially, I had a hard time reading The Last Invisible Boy, but when I realized this first-person account in journal form was supposedly written by a twelve-year-old boy, that changed everything! I prepared myself for the read by pretending I was my grandson at that age.

After I found the proper mindset, the book became cohesive and even clever. I related to little Finn Garrett. He's quite a boy: great imagination, logical thought processes, and is quite resourceful.

I'm in awe that author Evan Kuhlman understands the tween mind so well; the writing leaps off the page as though a twelve-year-old really wrote it. For the story's purpose, the creative illustrations are supposedly drawn by Finn, also, but the artist is J. P. Coovert. He did a fine job creating simple, descriptive art that seemed perfect for each journal entry. I'm pleased there are so many illustrations. At first I thought I might prefer them in color, but I came to realize that black-and-white were ideal for this book.

The premise of the book is that Finn has lost his father unexpectedly and he thinks he's becoming invisible because his hair and skin are turning white. He feels that if he becomes invisible he can join his father and have more adventures with him whenever he wishes...jumping from his real life in Sunnyvale, Ohio to wherever his father is. His struggles to come to terms with that concept are heart-breaking, endearing, and at times amusing--but never outrageously hilarious.

It's at all times charming!
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I spotted The Last Invisible Boy by Evan Kuhlman while browsing at Borders, and it looked interesting, so I decided to pick it up at the library. While it contains cartoon illustrations and is written in diary form like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, it is much more serious, mostly because of the subject matter.

The diary in this book is that of 12-year-old Finn Garrett. His father passed away unexpectedly at a relatively young age, and he is trying to deal with his feelings. As part of this, strange things begin happening to him. His skin becomes pale and his hair turns white. Finn believes that this is because he is slowly becoming invisible. Although he is somewhat ostracized at school, he is happy that his pretty and talented best friend Meli is always there when he needs her.

The book is composed of very short chapters (mostly 1-2 pages), with each being a separate entry. Some are set in the present, some are flashbacks, and others are Finn's fantasies about things like traveling through space. The entries have a good voice, especially when seen through Finn's imagination.

The Last Invisible Boy was not perfect, but it was very good. Finn idolized his dad, and presented an idealized picture of him - although his dad had some flaws, like spending too much time at work, Finn was able to ignore these, especially after his death. Also, Finn's relationship with Meli was sweet, as he imagined marrying her when they got older. However, the pacing drags a little at times, though this could be expected, given the subject matter. You also have to be in a certain mindset to read it, as it is pretty depressing. It is ultimately rewarding in the end to see Finn begin to overcome his grief.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. Salerni on November 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Last Invisible Boy is a serious and sometimes touching account of a middle school boy dealing with the sudden and unexpected death of his father. So why is it packaged like a carbon copy of the popular humorous book Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

Written in the form of a journal, including drawings by the narrator, The Last Invisible Boy presents the non-linear musings and experiences of Finn Garrett, a boy whose father's death has so destroyed his world that his hair has turned white. (Thus, the invisibility gimmick.) The reader realizes early on that the invisibility is not the science fiction/fantasy type of invisibility -- it is a physiological reaction to stress and grief. It is, perhaps, the most interesting and original part of a book which contains not much plot, few interesting characters, and entirely lifeless drawings.

I did not care at all for the drawings. I thought they added nothing to the story -- they contained no additional information -- frequently they were merely sketches of characters' faces. It seemed to me that they were present only for their marketing value -- because books with drawings are popular right now, thanks to the aforementioned Wimpy Kid.

There were moments in The Invisible Boy that touched me, but I was bored through a lot of the book. There is some value in Finn's journey through the stages of grief -- but the illustrations lack style or charm and they ultimately water down the book's message and theme.
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