“Sometimes being the person you think you want to be isn’t as great as being the person you truly are”
Stories that have anything to do with social media always grab my attention, so it was no surprise that this book called out to me. It is a young adult novel, and while I don’t read a lot of YA, now and then I get my hands on a really good one….like in this case. This is a story that explores the ways in which we use social media, but also highlights many of the other issues that teenagers may be dealing with. Issues like loneliness, bullying, anxiety, self-esteem, and more.
I liked this book right from the start. The dedication:
“For anyone who has ever felt left out or overlooked or not good enough”
Vicky Decker doesn’t like to stand out. In fact she’ll do whatever she can to blend in and not be noticed…including wearing clothing that matches the paint on the school walls. But Vicky has always had one person in her corner, someone she can always count on, her friend, Jenna. But then Jenna’s family moves away. They promise they will keep in constant contact, but when Jenna starts to make new friends, Vicky feels like she losing her. And when Vicky accidentally overhears a conversation between Jenna and one of her new friends things go from bad to worse.
One day Vicky is playing around with Photoshop. She creates a new account on Instagram and just like that, her new online persona, Vicurious is born. Quite quickly the account blows up and before she knows it she has thousands of followers…and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. What began as a way of reinventing herself begins to open Vicky’s eyes to what is going on with other people around her.
Maybe she’s not so alone after all?
Vicky’s relationship with her mother really made me think. Everyone deserves to feel like their feelings are valid and having them dismissed just makes things worse. It made me aware of how I reply to people when they tell me how they are feeling, and of how I handle comments from my own daughter.
A young adult novel that touches on many truths about teens and some of the struggles they may have. With a great plot and awesome characterization “How to Disappear” deals with such important subject matters in an entertaining and educational way. The writing felt realistic and authentic. I felt for Vicky. I could feel her anxiety jumping off the page. It was quite emotional at times, but the author handles the issues in the novel wonderfully. She keeps the story from being too depressing, balancing it with humor.
I think many people could benefit from reading this novel, young adults as well as anyone who interacts with them.
Some resources listed at the end of the book.
Anxiety and depression Association of America
Teen mental health:
National suicide prevention lifeline:
Find a therapist – psychology today
Teen health and awareness