In Emilia Paredes’s book, a nine-year old girl befriends an invisible girl, then 11 years later goes on a deadly sightseeing trip to Italy.
During a family outing, Leonie hears a girl calling her, and she slips away to follow the voice. She comes upon Noelia, an invisible girl who hands Leonie a book to open—but paradoxically reveals that she had been trapped in the book and Leonie has freed her by opening it.
The story continues to baffle as seemingly unrelated events transpire. Leonie befriends Noelia, then dreams about being in Italy with two friends. When she suggests they explore a cave, one friend is killed by a falling rock while the other drowns in a deluge of water. Leonie is rescued by a man on a gondola who calls her his daughter before suddenly dying.
Fast-forward to Leonie, now 20, as she, her mother and friends Sally and Emmanuel visit Italy. One day Leonie’s mom goes solo sightseeing and, during a phone call with her husband, suddenly hears sirens. What follows is an ending that readers will find outlandish.
The book’s three unconnected storylines—Leonie meeting Noelia, Leonie’s dream, and Leonie’s trip—are confounding. The narrative is also marred by grammatical and spelling errors (“putt your gloves on,” etc.), as well as puzzling similes (“Their teeth made the sound of a violin”). Inexplicably, the fourth wall is occasionally broken with asides: “Do you know what I mean?” and “what a scare!”
Readers will also be bewildered at a nasty exchange between Sally and Emmanuel while costume shopping. “…Emmanuel jokingly asked…how is this pink wig in combination with my skirt?” Sally replies: “I was afraid you were gay. Now, I have no doubt. Your feet smell horrible.”
Finally, while several websites note that the story is targeted to teens/young adults, it is presented in a children’s picture book format.
In sum, the book requires thorough revision in order to attract an audience.
Also available as an ebook.