book review

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

This review contains minor spoilers.

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

Publisher: Atria Books

Pages: 368

Genre: Mystery

Rating: 1/5

I am definitely in the minority with how much I didn’t like this book. We follow three narrators, Owen, Saffyre, and Cate as their lives move around each other in an English neighborhood. Owen is a teacher who has just been suspended for possible sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior in the classroom. Cate is a work from home mom who is dealing with some marriage issues and feeling unsafe in their temporary neighborhood. Saffyre lives near Owen and Cate but she frequents their area because she is stalking her former therapist, Roan, who also happens to be Cate’s husband. Valentine’s night Saffyre ends up disappearing and this has major consequences for everyone involved.

I obviously have a lot of issues with this book but my biggest one is the characters. I am a character driven reader and not only did I not connect to any of them but it makes me ridiculously angry that Owen is even a character let alone one of our narrators. Owen brings absolutely nothing to this story and in fact takes a lot away from it. If we had the two women narrators we could have had a story with more tension and more suspense because without the focus on Owen we could have flushed out the story more. I also just don’t understand what Jewell was trying to say with Owen’s character. He is marketed as being “inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel” (quote taken from the Goodreads synopsis) but that only lasts for maybe twenty pages then it turns into Owen finding himself and what is the point of that? It brings nothing of value and his character arc just irritated me because it was so unbelievable. I doubt a misogynistic man is going to pick this book up and see how poisonous his ideas are and be inspired by Owen changing his life. I did like Saffyre even if I don’t understand some of her choices but at least she was a character I could root for. Cate redeemed herself by the end but for a long while I thought she was one of the dumbest characters I have ever read.

I feel like I would have liked Cate more if we had spent more of the story with her and cut Owen out completely. Since Saffyre is connected to Cate’s family the tension of her disappearance could have been so much higher as Cate tries to figure the whole thing out. I have given Jewell’s last two books five stars so I know that she can write intense domestic mysteries but unfortunately this just wasn’t it for me. There was no real drama, the twists were incredibly predictable and the mystery aspect was bland. If you are wanting to read a great Lisa Jewell book than I highly recommend The Family Upstairs. I still think about that book a year later and those characters were complex and valuable and pretty much the opposite of how I felt about Invisible Girl.

If you want to discuss this book in the comments I would love to hear your thoughts, just please keep it spoiler free!

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