Title: How to Disappear
Author: Sharon Huss Roat
Genre/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Self esteem, Insecurities, Loneliness, Social Media
Blurb from Goodreads
Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable.
So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realises she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her— #alone and #ignored in real life.
To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life.
In this beautiful and illuminating narrative, Sharon Huss Roat shines a light on our love of social media and how sometimes being the person you think you want to be isn’t as great as being the person you truly are
Sometimes books come along that just match our headspace. And this book did exactly that for me. Was having a rough time of it, feeling quite low about things out of my control…
And I picked up this book. It’s a book about insecurities. Loneliness. Isolation. Feeling somewhat less than. And it spoke to me.
Thankfully I don’t suffer with the crippling social anxiety that main character Vicky does. But that didn’t matter with my being able to empathise fully with her.
Because there was a truth to this book. A sense of authenticity and a true sense of urgency in the moments when Vicky couldn’t breathe.
I love how the book took the concept of teen social media and spun it into a positive. So much we hear about the negativity of social media. The bullying. The hate comments.
But this book found the considerate part of the online world. The positivity. MC Vicky created an online persona for herself known only as Vicurious and using this account she tried to show the world that everyone is worth of being seen. She tried to create a chain of communication, support and kindness.
And what I liked is that the romance plot line was under played. It allowed Vicky to blossom but didn’t magically heal her.
She experienced character growth because of herself. Her choices. Her decisions. Her seeking help.
I also loved the dynamic between Vicky and her mother. Her mother acted like such a fool. Said all the wrong things. Dismissed her anxiety as being shy. Told her she was being silly. Forced her daughter into social situations that caused her daughter so much pain and stress…
But her mother was trying her best. She didn’t understand. She wasn’t evil or heartless… And when mother and daughter had a heart to heart… It was beautiful.
Was the plot a little too saccharine and the climax somewhat disappointingly melodramatic… Very definitely. And the prose was rather perfunctory at times…
But yet I love books like this that both educate about mental health issues and create memorable characters. Vicurious Vicky is definitely a memorable character and one that truly touched my heart.