Overall opinion: Wonderful YA novel on social anxiety and social media use, with relatable characters and a realistic setting. Five stars.
Disclaimer: This book review was NOT sponsored.
“Being late for class is very high on my list of stupid everyday stuff that now terrifies me, aka the Terror List.”
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 realizes 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.
My How To Disappear Book Review
The first thing that captured me while reading How To Disappear is Sharon Huss Roat’s writing style.
Simple, carefully crafted, flowing like a river — it reads very fast and yet it never gets banal. I found no nonsense writing in this novel, and my questions as a reader where all answered.
My level of appreciation of Roat’s writing is as high as the one I had for Walden’s.
The main characters are introduced gradually as we get to know them to a certain degree of depth in the story:
- Vicky Decker is our protagonist, the narrating voice, a girl who suffers from a strong social anxiety
- Jenna is Vicky’s friend of a lifetime (her only friend) who had to move out of state
- Lipton is Vicky’s schoolmate and friend who might be just a little more than that to her…
- Vicky’s parents are a presence throughout the story, especially her mom
It was relieving to read a YA novel where parents actually have a say, even though Vicky’s mom makes a lot of mistakes and her father doesn’t like to talk a lot (but seems to understand his daughter a little better.)
The themes of the narration were many and important:
- Social anxiety and its effects on all kinds of relationships, including those in the family
- Self-doubt, stress and all those psychological states that weaken a person’s relationship with themselves and the world, especially a teen’s
- The importance of seeking therapy when it gets unbearable
- The importance of friendship and how to keep a healthy one even at a distance
- The importance of building solid foundations for a love relationship, and to make that love grow over time
- The importance of trust and real understanding in the family, especially between parents and children
This novel is really centered on mental health and the struggle of someone who suffers from a strong social anxiety. I really appreciated that.
The only “nay” factor in the whole book was, for me, the super fast follower growth of vicurious’ Instagram account. It simply wasn’t credible — in real life it takes a lot longer to grow followers on social media.
And to end my How To Disappear book review, below is my favorite quote in the book:
Tonight, for the first time in my life, I am winning against the fear of being—of taking up space and getting in the way… of being wrong or stupid or pathetic or not good enough. Of being laughed at.
Finally, I am winning against myself.
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I fell in love with this beautiful book by @sharonhussroat , "How to disappear". The protagonist suffers from strong social anxiety, to the extent that she invents an alter ego to Photoshop the life she would want to live, on Instagram. Until her account becomes really successful. There's a lot I could relate to. The whole book resonated within me. I'm Lia and I'm an alter ego, my real appearance is not what I show on these photos. Lia protects me. But does it matter? This is still me, after all. This is still what I love doing. And the book? I'm recommending it like crazy, especially if you suffer from strong anxiety and you anonymized most or all of yourself online. Big hugs to all my followers! ❤️ #vicurious #howtodisappear #bookstagram #booklover #bookaddicted #bookworm #booktography #bibliophage #lovetoreadbooks #readaholic #readerforlife #bookstagramit #favouritebooks #readinggoals #readingtime
Conclusion to My How To Disappear Book Review & Personal Comments
When I bought How To Disappear it was because I was looking for someone like me, someone who created an alter ego online to anonymize themselves on the Internet and wanted to share the inner workings of their creation.
But I found How To Disappear instead. A novel.
I was immediately attracted to it and I wanted to read it so badly. So I placed the order on Amazon.
And the read was… well… amazing. The whole story, and the main character, resonated with me in ways I wouldn’t believe I’d ever find in a book.
Alter ego? Check! Social anxiety? Check!
I literally found myself nodding as I read, totally identifying myself with the protagonist, despite the age gap (she’s a teen, I’m in my mid thirties).
I loved how sometimes Vicky talked about @vicurious as if she was another person than herself (happens to me, too).
Seriously, I loved every bit of this YA novel, and I’m so glad for this chance encounter among Amazon’s listings for my search.
Reading & Watching Recommendations
The superhero who has to hide themselves… with their superhero self being an alter ego of their normal, ordinary self… Who to choose? Too many come to mind!
So I’ll recommend my favorite here: Superman. With the lovely ’78 movie.
No book recommendations this time around.
Thank you for reading my How To Disappear book review. Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed the novel or if you’re going to read it!