Review: How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat

How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mental Illness, Romance, Self-love
Publication: August 15, 2017 from HarperTeen
Series: N/A
Length: 384 pages
Format: ARC provided by blog tour host
Rating: ★★★★★

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.

Huge thanks to my friend Hazel from Stay Bookish for letting me in on the blog tour she’s hosting for this title, and for lending me a review copy. This did not, in any way, affect my overall opinion of the book and/or the story.

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After hearing just how much my friend Hazel loved this Sophomore novel from Sharon Roat entitled How To Disappear, I just knew I needed to know what’s the hype all about. Hazel and I usually have similar tastes when it comes to contemporaries, and I believe we’re yet to find a title that we had different insights about. I was also ecstatic to know that Hazel, with help from the author herself, was hosting a local blog tour for this title. I didn’t even let her finish inviting me. I immediately said yes. And now, I’m happy to be able to share my thoughts on How To Disappear with you all.

The premise of this book was enough to hook me up. In a nutshell, the story focuses on ways as to how Vicky Decker, a female teen suffering from social anxiety, could cope up from her best friend moving to a different city for school. Later on, as a way to make herself occupied, she signs up for an Instagram profile wherein she posts Photoshopped images of herself in random yet still very awesome situations. I didn’t even realize until after a few chapters that this is also a novel about self-love and self-discovery. As the story progressed, I was also made aware that there are plenty of ways on how to touch and change people’s lives, and how easy it is to also ruin one. Through Vicky’s coping mechanisms, I was given a new perspective on how hard it can sometimes be for people who suffer in different, and inconceivable ways.

Another aspect that I adored about this sophomore novel from Sharon is the utterly impressive writing style and the fast pacing, which I’m sure you all know I appreciate. There’s nothing I love more than a story that’s made much more endearing and heartfelt through good writing & storytelling techniques. Vicky’s voice all throughout the book was easy to read and I had no problem breezing through the book because of this. I love how the writing and the pacing complemented each other well to deliver a well-written story.

And lastly, I loved the character development that our main lead, Vicky, went through, and I feel like a lot of socially anxious people, whether they be kids, teens, or even young adults, can easily relate and learn a thing or two from her. Vicky started out as a character who felt nothing but being alone. She didn’t have her best friend to confide to. Her family didn’t seem to understand what she was mentally going through. And add to that the daily pressures of high school life for teens. Even I, as a grown up man, can easily feel the anxiety that Vicky might be experiencing. And yet, as I kept on reading, I found out that just as regular highschoolers do, Vicky was able to be strong and persevere. The change that Vicky went through might have been slowly incremental, but it definitely worked out in the end. No, she didn’t become a social butterfly, but she was able to to open her heart to the possibility of having new friends and even a lover, and that, to me, was everything.

“How to Disappear immerses its readers in a reading experience that is as heartfelt as it is emotionally investing. The premise is enticing, the writing style is unique, and the pacing was utterly impressive. Moving forward, I can only wish for more authors and publishers to share more stories that are as awe-inspiring and silently empowering as Sharon Huss Roat’s sophomore novel.”

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Have YOU ever tried photoshopping yourself into a photo posted it online? How did people react to it? Also, this is not a question, but you should definitely check out this novel from Sharon Huss Roat!

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Arctic Books general graphics JMJM is a 21 year old blogger from Manila. He has a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Managment mainly because it was too late when he discovered that literature and publishing is his true calling. He enjoys reading contemporary and fantasy novels as much as he enjoys playing video games and baking pastries. You may find him on TwitterInstagram, and on Goodreads.

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