If you had really bad acne you would want to do anything you could to get rid of it. You would try every possible remedy you could, possibly even resorting to less scientifically-proven methods. Imagine, though, that you had tried everything that you possibly could and were feeling pretty downhearted, until one day you wake up and you’re actually invisible! Not only can nobody see your spots, they also can’t see your whole face or the rest of your body. This would be enough to freak anyone out and you would have to figure out how and why it has happened. This is the weird situation that Ethel finds herself in in Ross Welford’s fantastic new book, What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible.
Turning invisible at will: it’s one way of curing your acne. But far more drastic than 13 year-old Ethel Leatherhead intended when she tried a combination of untested medicines and a sunbed.It’s fun at first, being invisible. And aided by her friend Boydy, she manages to keep her extraordinary ability secret. Or does she…?When one day the invisibility fails to wear off, Ethel is thrown into a nightmare of lies and deception as she struggles to keep herself safe, to find the remedy that will make her seen again – and solve the mystery of her own birth.
What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible is a weird and wonderful story full of mystery and marvels. There is something for everyone in this book, from an invisible girl and her family secrets to unexpected friendships and secret missions. I loved Ross’ first book, Time Travelling with a Hamster, so I was really looking forward to this book and Ross doesn’t disappoint. There are plenty of mysteries to keep you guessing and some really tense moments too. I was holding my breath in anticipation in several parts of the story, wondering whether Ethel’s invisibility would be noticed. Ross also lightens the mood with some funny (and embarrassing) moments. Ross captures both the excitement and the terror that I’m sure you would experience if you found yourself invisible.
Ross shows us that people often aren’t who we perceive them to be. Almost everyone in the story has an aspect of themselves that they keep hidden. Ethel herself buys strange medicines online without her grandmother knowing, her Gram and her Great-Gran have secrets of their own, Elliot Boyd (or Boydy to his friends) is different from what she’s been led to believe, and the school bullies Jesmond and Jarrow are quite different when they’re in their own home. Ethel discovers that the life that she knows is a lie and sets out to uncover the truth, with the help of Boydy.
The thing I loved most about this book is the friendship between Ethel and Boydy. Ethel is initially skeptical about being friends with Boydy, who is an outcast at school. He doesn’t seem to care what people think though and Ethel starts to warm to him. He may seem a bit strange to Ethel but he becomes a loyal friend who will do anything to help her.
Like Time Travelling with a Hamster I think What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible would make a great read aloud for Years 6-8 as it would create some good discussions. I can’t recommend Ross Welford’s books highly enough. I can’t wait to see where Ross Welford takes us next!