Invisible in a Bright Light by Sally Gardner
Zephyr, 2019. ISBN: 9781789544848. 320pp.
Recommended for those who like a challenge, aged 14+. The dream-fantasy scenario and premise of this book has all the logic and clarity of a medication-induced dream. Initially very confusing, the book follows the characters Celeste and Maria who are one and yet two, and who must rescue the people who have disappeared from the ghost ship. Their life in the theatre is muddled with their former life before the mysterious disappearance of many of the ghost ship's characters; they are in the spotlight and also invisible. A formidable man in an emerald green suit (akin to Rumpelstiltskin) appears and enables the girls to win a contest to save the lost souls. Along the way, they rescue the daughter of an objectionable operatic genius and perform like stars on stage.
Sadly, this bizarre narrative is so perplexing and dream-like as it ripples through time, with characters appearing and disappearing, acting with eccentric personality traits in an unfamiliar context, that it may leave young readers floundering. However, if you loved Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and like to be confused as you read, then this book is for you. Entering someone else's dream is automatically confusing, but ultimately a persistent reader may actually enjoy the theatrical journey of this book and the rescuing of the young character Hildegard and putting the broken shards of the 'glass' back into some semblance of order. Be prepared to be confused! Themes: Fantasy; Dreams; Ghosts; Theatre.