Friday, December 8, 2017

If You're One of These Types of People, You Should Read "How To Disappear"

How to Disappear
Sharon Huss Roat
Published August 15, 2017
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.

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. - from Goodreads
I've been shying away from contemporary YA lately, because too many of the books I've read have felt unrealistic and unrelatable.  And then I came across How to Disappear.  I identified with Vicky, a high schooler with social anxiety who uses social media to create an alternate life for herself and ends up helping so many others.  I think everyone should read this book, but especially if you relate to any of these types of people:

If you were a loner in high school: After her best friend Jenna moves to Wisconsin, Vicky finds herself alone, barely able to look another student in the eye and skipping class when she feels overwhelmed or embarrassed.  As a way to prove to herself that she actually does exist, Vicky starts an Instagram account, "Vicurious," in which she photoshops a disguised version of herself into crazy situations, like riding a hippogriff.  When the account explodes in popularity, Vicky realizes there are so many others out there who feel alone like her.


If you were popular in high school: Maybe you were the homecoming queen or the star quarterback; it seemed everyone knew and loved you.  But more likely than not, you had your own problems that maybe you tried to keep hidden.  As Vicky gets to know her classmates more, she sees that even the people who seem to have it all together have their own issues and struggles.


If you've ever faced your fears: Vicky isn't just shy, she has social anxiety, but as the story progresses, she makes small steps towards conquering her fears.  She joins the yearbook staff and even starts a relationship with her classmate, Lipton.  I don't have social anxiety, but I am extremely shy, and I really identified with Vicky's desire to kind of hide from others and not draw attention to herself.  I cheered her on as she found the courage to even just say hello to her classmates.


If you use social media: We use social media for so many things - to show off our vacation photos, share funny stories, or promote a business.  Through Vicurious, Vicky encourages people to be kind to one another and really see each other.  She is surprised when she finds out some of her classmates are Vicurious followers and that they've really taken her words to heart, even bringing them into their offline interactions.  Even though Vicky started the account just for herself, it was refreshing to see it being used for good once she started gaining followers.


If you've ever felt invisible: Vicky uses her Instagram account to reach out to these people who feel alone or invisible, to let them know they're not alone and that someone cares about them.  She knows all too well how bad it can feel to be lonely and feel like you don't matter, and she wants to show that sometimes all it takes is just one person reaching out to another to help.


Overall, How to Disappear was a heartfelt story that I got completely swept up in.  Well-written and believable, I think you'll find yourself rooting for Vicky as much as I did.

4 stars

20 comments:

  1. Great review!! I too have been weary with YA, but this passage caught my eye: "I've been shying away from contemporary YA lately, because too many of the books I've read have felt unrealistic and unrelatable. And then I came across How to Disappear." I may have to check this one out!

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    1. Thank you! This was different than other YA I've been reading. It just felt more real.

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  2. Love this review and can't wait to read this book!

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  3. This was one of my faves this year. I loved everything about it. Vicky, her tribe, Lipton!!!, and the positive use of social media. It was wonderful! Great review!

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    1. Thank you! This book had so many good elements, it really was fantastic.

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  4. This sounds like an amazing read -- and I love how she incorporates social media in a positive way -- we all know the perils of it, but I'm so pleased to see something so good about it, helping Vicky in a wayl

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    1. It really was a great read! I love that even though Vicky starts the Instagram account for herself, once she sees that it's helping people, she really runs with it!

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  5. Ohhh I am so, so glad you read and reviewed this book and that you loved it, Angela. I have it on my TBR and am so, so excited to read it someday. It sounds like the kind of book I could love, dealing with social media, trying to be someone you're not and living a life you're not really living... well all of these things always fascinated me. I can't wait to read it. Thank you for your lovely review! :)

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    1. Thank you, Marie! I really hope you love this one. I think it had a really good message!

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  6. Yours is the first review that I have read for this book. I have been feeling the same about contemporary YA and YA in general lately, so I am happy to hear that you enjoyed this one so much. Sharon Huss-Roat is a wonderful author and I love her writing style as well. I will have to bump this up on the old TBR. :)

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    1. Awesome! I hope you love it! I was so glad to find a YA book that actually felt real.

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  7. I've seen this book some what around the YA community, I have it on my tbr, but haven't had a change to read it yet. But that will definitely change! I love your review and the points that you made. I relate to this book, a lot it seems. I'm extremely shy and have social anxiety and was the loner in school. So I'll definitely have to read it now. ๐Ÿ˜‰Thank you again xoxo.

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    1. Thank you so much, Helena! I'm so glad you enjoyed the review and it's inspired you to read this book even sooner! I identified a lot with Vicky, too, and I hope you love this one.

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  8. Oh I need to read this book. I’m not really a shy person but I’m an introvert. Thanks for putting this book on my radar. Awesome review. ❤️๐Ÿ˜

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    1. Thanks, Geybie! I really hope you enjoy this one!

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  9. I've been wanting to read this one for a while now. Everyone in the YA blogging world seems to love it, and after you review, I think I would really identify with Vicky as well. I was never quite a loner but I never was the most popular person either in high school - I sticked with my best friends and didn't really branch out that much. Wonderful review, Angela! :)

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    1. Thanks, Lauren! I was the same way in high school. I was shy then and I'm still shy now, and it never really occurred to me that the popular kids might be having their own issues, too.

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  10. This does sound incredibly relatable. I had actually never heard of the book before either, so thanks for putting it on my radar. Adding it to my TBR now.

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    1. Great! I hope you love it as much as I did!

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I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!