The Invisible Boy

Roaring Brook. Sept. 2020. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250155726.
Gr 3-6–Nadia Quick’s father works at the Pentagon, her mother writes a successful blog for military wives, and her aunt is a lawyer. The family has moved quite often and comic books provide inspiration for Dia. However, her mom’s public postings and live streaming cause her much embarrassment and pain. She seeks solace in her favorite Superman comics and her idol, Lois Lane the investigative reporter. In order to emulate this career trajectory, Nadia must win the Junior Journalists Contest at the end of the summer. She starts her inquiry by observing her neighborhood, equipped with a notebook, pen, colorful leggings, and her trusty canine, Wonder Dog. She immediately ends up involved in a mystery as she wonders about the identity of the individual she calls “Invisible Boy.” The answers to the mystery become apparent after an unlikely friendship ensues between the pair and their villain neighbor, “Paddle Boy” (also known as Kenny). Dia learns that human trafficking can exist right in one’s own neighborhood. This title focuses on a subject often avoided in youth literature, but it does so in an unrealistic manner that may lead young readers to misunderstand the seriousness of the topic.
VERDICT A light-hearted read about a dark topic that is so wrapped in imaginary superhero play and bright clothing that the protagonists all appear to be much younger than their actual ages, making the back matter crucial for identifying and reporting suspicions of human trafficking.

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