Title: How to Disappear
Author: Sharon Huss Roat
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult
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.
Source: Thanks so much to Indigo Books & Music Inc. for providing me with a physical ARC of this book!
How I Found Out About It: Indigo newsletter
I am your typical teenager that can tend to spend hours on end using social media such as Snapchat and Instagram. It’s where all the teens hang out these days, and I like keeping up with all of my friends and acquaintances on these sites. For this reason, books centring around social media have a soft spot in my heart.
I almost always end up devouring all books of the sort, and now I most especially adored How to Disappear. It was so touchingly real and I adored every millisecond of my time reading it.
For a quick summary, this novel follows high schooler Vicky Decker. She is a tad socially awkward, so when her best friend moves away, she is left with no one to count on. To make herself feel happier, she decides to create an Instagram account entitled @Vicurious on which she photoshops her head into others’ images, making them look as real as possible. As her account goes viral, she finds out that she is not the only one who feels the way she feels- hundreds upon thousands of others feel the same way.
It was obvious that Vicky was having some trouble feeling comfortable in her own shoes, but nonetheless, she was an amazing and inspiring character that all readers can look up to with ease. She was very intuitive and understood people’s feelings, which is often what I look for in an awesome protagonist. Although photoshopping your head onto others’ pictures isn’t necessarily the most ethical thing to do in the type of situation that Vicky was in, she made it seem so real- and this was what made her followers fall in love with @Vicurious.
I must say that the super intriguing premise is what got me hooked in the first place. As I said earlier, books about social media always perk me up, and this one was a no-brainer. Contrary to many other contemporaries I’ve been reading lately, this one, in no way, shape, or form, left me confused or bored. Instead, every second excited me and left me wanting more and more. I never wanted it to come to an end!
To recap, How to Disappear was a raw, authentic novel that teaches us that no one is ever alone, and it as well proves that social media can in fact be helpful over harmful sometimes, with the latter being more emphasized in many books. If you are a regular social media user who experiences “FOMO” and other struggles regarding social life in high school, then this book is for you. It was so moving and inspiring that I think I may just have to grant it 5 stars!
*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.*