Invisible Girl

Lisa Jewell's psychologically astute Invisible Girl opens with someone in a hoodie following a terrified woman--and the man stalking the woman. The hoodie wearer advances toward danger, and then the book cuts to "Before" to introduce the cast of characters.

The Fours family--child psychologist father Roan, mother Cate, and kids Georgia and Josh--is living in a temporary rental in Hampstead during renovations on the Fourses' permanent home. Across the street lives Owen, a quiet man Georgia thinks is creepy and who followed her too closely one night as she walked home from the nearby Tube station. There's also Saffyre, a teenage patient of Roan, who still suffers from something traumatic that happened to her when she was 10. Add to the mix a series of sexual assaults that have been happening in the area. When Saffyre goes missing, authorities discover she has ties to more than one person in the neighborhood, causing suspicions and accusations to mount.

Invisible Girl is more psychological study than thriller, but Jewell (I Found You) is so incisive with her insights, a more leisurely pace might not be noticed. Saffyre, the titular girl, is troubled and makes imprudent choices, but it's clear her actions arise from deep pain, and readers will want justice for her. With Owen, Jewell examines deep loneliness and public excoriation, causing him to wonder if "he'd be happier in prison than out in the world... having to deal with women looking at him as if he was going to rape them." Society might marginalize these kinds of people, but Jewell centers them and illuminates their plight. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd

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