The History of a Word 02/07/20
How to Be Invisible
Publisher: Walker Books
When Strato Nyman’s parents decide to relocate themselves – and their arguments- to the countryside, leaving his London school for Gifted and Talented children behind is just one of the new problems he faces. Being a genius, and the only black kid in the school, is going to make fitting in at his new school a real challenge and when the school bully singles Strato out for special attention he just wants to disappear. A strange encounter with a moustachioed man in a dusty bookshop offers a cryptic answer to his troubles, but can the power of invisibility really be useful to a scientist like Strato?
Strato is a wonderful character: pragmatic and articulate, with a genuine thirst for knowledge, he is a believable, endearing and quite unique narrator. His thorough explanation of particle physics experiments are told with awe and excitement, and his blossoming first romance with fellow science fan Susan Brown is a lovely addition. Rowing parents on the brink of separation is a common subject for young teen novels but the injection of quiet magic and bright science give this story real energy. Larger than life characters seem to take on superhero (or supervillain) shapes – Lloyd Turnbull with his exaggerated limb, the mysterious Dr Ojebande always dressed in black, and the magnificent Melchior, who is Super-Dad to his son in any form. The lines between magic and reality are blurred together just as they should be, for they are all made of the ‘quantum froth’ on the ‘cosmic cappuccino’ that makes ‘science the magic that is around us all the time’.