I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Etta Invincible by Reese Eschmann
Published by Simon and Schuster on 12-07-2022
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / General
In this touching debut middle grade novel, a girl with hearing loss and a boy adjusting to life in a new country connect through their love of comics and get entangled in their own fantastical adventure.
Twelve-year-old Etta Johnson has Loud Days where she can hear just fine and Quiet Days where sounds come from far away and she gets to retreat into her thoughts. Etta spends most of her time alone, working on her comic book about Invincible Girl, the superhero who takes down super villain Petra Fide. Invincible Girl is brave, daring, and bold—everything Etta wishes she could be.
But when Louisa May Alcott, a friendly Goldendoodle from across the street, disappears, Etta and the dog’s boy, Eleazar, must find their inner heroes to save her. The catch? Louisa May has run onto a magical train that mysteriously arrived at the station near Etta and Eleazar’s houses. Onboard, they discover each train car is its own magical world with individual riddles and challenges that must be solved before they can reach the engine room and rescue Louisa May.
Only, the stakes are even higher than they thought. The train’s magic is malfunctioning and spreading a purple smoke called The Fear through the streets of Chicago. Etta and Eleazar are the only ones who can save the city, save Louisa May Alcott—and save each other.
Reese Eschmann holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois-Chicago and worked in schools for six years. When she’s not writing or taking naps, Reese enjoys rock climbing, baking, and making movies with her family. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their hound dog. Etta Invincible is her debut novel.
It’s early morning and I’m tired but that won’t stop me from from telling you all about what I did think while reading “Etta Invincible”! Please be aware that this is not really completely spoiler free!
- Okay, let’s do this. I love trains, I love magical worlds. This can only be good.
- Wait, wait, wait, back UP! Is this a graphic novel? I thought I signed up for a regular novel. Did I not read the sign up form correctly. That would be sooooo typical for me.
- Okay, next chapter. Aaaaand here are the words. Huh.
- I like Etta, she’s really sweet. And has a nice home life.
- Why does Etta not have any friends? I don’t get it. If she doesn’t have so many Quiet Days, and even if she did, there should be at least one girl or boy who wants to talk to her? Why wouldn’t they? Even if she’s shy and keeps to herself.
- Puppy! Puppy! Puppy! PUPPERRRRR! Oh, everything gets better when there are dogs in it.
- Those purple storms are really weird. And somehow hard for me to imagine.
- I mean, would I just step onto a weird purple train, especially when I’m expected somewhere else? Probably not. Even though it makes me think of the purple train in Kingdom Hearts 2.
- NOT THE DOG!!!???
- I mean, some things just don’t make sense here.
- Okay, we’re in now. And…I don’t know what I would have expected. Maybe not this? What just happened with the ticket?
- Not what I had in mind but okay. Gotta google Medellín’s Barefoot Park now because I cannot picture this.
- Of course a kid on a restricted diet would wish for proper food. But will it be worth it?
- Not worth it.
- I was wondering if another kid would show up.
- Wait, who is that guy now?
- Library. Cool. I would wish for that too.
- Who in the world would do something like this!?
- Okay. This train car. That IS cool.
- Next train car. Okay. Creepy. But cool. This is really imaginative.
- Wait. Did I miscount?
- Ha! Thought so. I still got it.
- Yep, I’m confused again.
- At least Luisa is okay.
- Yes. I like this. I think I would rather read this as a graphic novel, though.
Since the reactions don’t really show too much of what I think of the book since it’s mostly my reactions while reading (when I remembered to write them down), I thought I might still give you a short insight.
This book is a lot about inclusivity. We have a disabled African-American main character, a boy who just moved to Chicago from Colombia and later meet an Asian-American girl. Etta was definitely my favorite.
While I quite liked Etta and her new friends, there were parts of the book that I thought were pretty convoluted and a bit hard to imagine. I definitely liked the idea behind the book, I found it interesting to have a character with Ménière’s Disease since I had heard about it before but didn’t really know much about it.
I mean, I like the idea of the train. Give me all the books about all the trains and all the riddles and all the magical realms. I think that the author tried to stuff too much in there, though.
All in all, I quite liked the idea of the book. I liked the main character, Etta, and I think I also learned a lot while reading. There were some convoluted parts though, that made the whole experience a bit confusing though. However, I did like the artwork and I think I would love to read a Etta Invincible graphic novel.
I would recommend, though. I think it’s important for children to learn how people with a disability, like Etta who has days where she cannot hear, live their day to day life. I think that was beautifully portraid and I think I would enjoy more books with characters like Etta.
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Thank you for reading! what do you think?
- Have you read Etta Invincible?
- Have you ever heard of Menière’s Disease or do you know somebody who lives with it?
This sounds fun! I love the concept of a magical train. And hooray for more representation in MG fiction!