I’m finally starting my spooky season reads! What better way to start than a book about a ghost?
Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider, published by Katherine Tegen Books, is a story mainly about grielf and letting go. Rose’s brother died four years ago and in the wake of that bereavment, she isolated herself from her old friend group and tried to become invisible. But she didn’t have to say goodbye to everything. For the past four years, her brother hung around her…as a ghost. But when an old friend moves back to town and gets her involved in friendships again, Rose has to learn how to merge her two lives or let one of them go.
Robyn Schneider has written six YA novels. She graduated from Columbia, and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, where she earned a Masters of Bioethics. Despite writing this straight romance, Robyn is queer herself! I found her book to be full of certain types of rep including LGBTQ+ side characters and the main character being Jewish.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I got it in a mystery book box–it wasn’t something I initially has on my TBR or had even heard of before. But I found I really identified with Rose–her not believing herself good enough to try out for the play or popular enough to merge back into her old friend group or worthy enough to stand up to her bully-friends. In some ways, Rose was the ghost, trying to be as invisible as she could be and live in the past with her brother. I suppose in a way, grief can do that to us, keep us in a time loop and keep us from moving on.
I also appreciate the plethora of nerd culture references: Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Marvel, Hamilton, etc. Fandoms that I love and that I believe other readers love but that we rarely see our beloved book characters talk about in books. Doctor Who was a big reference that I found worked with the theme of the book since, as those who watch the show know, eventually the doctor regenerates and we have to say goodbye to an old life to say hello to a new one.
The romance in the book was also cute. It was a very YA romance–hopeful but shy crushes, first kisses, a rush of electricity that the characters have never felt before. I appreciated the main obstacle was the ghost and not something silly like a love triangle or miscommunication that a lot of YA romances have.
The one flaw? She let go of the breath she didn’t know she was holding a total of three times. Maybe she just doesn’t know how to breathe.
Overall, I’d give the book four stars and if you can ignore the breath thing, I’d recommend this to YA readers and theatre kids.