January 04, 2022

#BookReview: The Girl Who Wasn't There by Penny Joelson

Synopsis: I know what I saw.

Nothing ever happens on Kasia's street. And Kasia would know. Her illness keeps her home for days at a time, with little to do but watch the world from her bedroom window. So when she witnesses what looks like a kidnapping, she's not sure she can believe her own eyes...

So she sets out to find the only other witness. The girl in the window across the street. The girl who was also watching when things went down.

But what Kasia discovers shocks her more than the kidnapping itself.

There is no girl.


Rating: 3 Stars
My Review: This one is for the younger YA crowed. I think it did a wonderful job introducing readers who are getting out of Middle Grade.  It is well paced and interesting. It felt very real and kept me on my toes. 

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—Kasia is a 15-year-old Polish girl who has chronic fatigue syndrome, otherwise known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), after a case of tonsillitis earlier in the year. Stuck in her room day after day, Kasia gazes out her window for glimpses of the outside world. However, when she sees what appears to be a kidnapping, she quickly calls the police and notices that she wasn't the only one to witness a girl fleeing from the window in the house across the street. Only, there isn't a young girl who lives across the street. There's just a young couple and their baby. Or is there? Joelson's writing is clear and easy to follow. While Kasia tries to remain optimistic about her health and strives to get better, she also knows her limits and realizes when she's pushed herself too hard. Following Kasia through her experiences with ME allows for a unique perspective on what it's like to deal with chronic illness. Joelson takes the time to go in depth on not only the symptoms of the illness but also how Kasia feels when these symptoms start to show. As the story develops, it is revealed that there are elements of human trafficking mixed in with the plot. The book is successful in highlighting serious themes, such as invisible illnesses and human trafficking, in a realistic manner. VERDICT A great, fast-paced thriller for younger teens, this novel explores important real-world issues.—Zoe Leonarczyk, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee


A great, fast-paced thriller for younger teens, this novel explores important real-world issues. - School Library Journal

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