Fantasy, Fiction, Kidlit, Loved-it, Magic

A Middle Grade Fantasy About Magical Forest Adventures The Mostly Invisible Boy (Casey Grimes #1) by A.J. Vanderhorst

I really had fun with the Mostly Invisible Boy by A.J. Vanderhorst! The best thing about this book is that it’s going to be a series, so I won’t have to part with the characters. I’m definitely looking forward to more adventures to be had with Casey and Gloria, the brother and sister who find a whole world out there, hiding under plain sight, right next to their home.

The Mostly Invisible Boy (Casey Grimes #1) by A.J. Vanderhorst

Check out on Goodreads
★★★★✬ 4.5 stars
How I read this:
free ebook copy from author

Casey has recently moved to a new place, but the problem is… Nobody seems to be noticing him. Literally – teachers don’t call out his name, he has to chase the school bus to even get on it, people close doors in his face, nobody even notices when he swipes their chocolate milk during lunch. Casey is really bothered by that, but things only seem to be getting worse when his parents suddenly duck out for vacation – without even saying bye to him. He spends the night in the woods, seemingly forgotten – but he’s too busy to care anymore, as he’s found a gigantic tree, and he’s pretty sure it’s special. I mean, nobody has ever seen a tree as big and wide as a building, right?

When Casey returns, he finds his little sister with a really intriguing babysitter – an older woman who seems very sharp, yet agreeable and reasonable and appears to hide a few secrets of her own. Mostly magical secrets, it seems! Casey and his sister’s babysitter seems to know a lot about the huge tree, but she is equally puzzled as to why nobody sees Casey. She encourages the kids to go exploring the tree though.

Now, you know I hate spoilers in my reviews, but with this book, it’s kind of unavoidable, because it takes a while to take off and it mounts the suspense, so for quite a while you don’t really know what ‘the main attraction’ is going to be. So I’m putting the next bit in spoiler tags, but I imagine a lot of other reviewers and even some blurbs might not spoiler tag it, cause.. it’s like… only the whole plot. The Mostly Invisible Boy uses a really nice fantasy trope – the one where kids find a whole secret magical world right beside their own, and what do you know, it’s in the forest. It’s really cool! It’s mostly only kids, they get taught to fight monsters and protect the “silly humans who don’t know anything”. I mean, what else could you want in a fantasy middle grade? I love it!

the mostly invisible boy

An image of the cover of The Mostly Invisible Boy on a PocketBook Color e-reader, centered diagonally, with candy, jewelry and dried flowers around it; Photo by AvalinahsBooks

So we get to see Casey and his sister sort of attend a less magical, more combative Hogwarts with all of these tough kids and their equally tough teachers, magical underground library and other paraphernalia included. But soon things get out of hand, and Casey finds himself in the thick of the action. He likes it there, but what about his home, and what about his sister’s safety? It’s a tough decision.

But what I liked about this story was that it wasn’t just an adventure story – it’s also a story about loneliness and friendship. About being slightly weird and all alone, possibly not heard by anyone, possibly just sort of… Invisible. This theme starts with Casey being ignored by the people around him, and continues with his new friend Luci, who despite being in a completely different place, fares no better than Casey at being noticed or acknowledged much. All of this is between the lines, so it’s very subtle, but I liked this storyline.

You can feel from the start of the book that this wasn’t going to be a one-off adventure – or at least, it’s not meant to be. There’s a lot of set-up for adventures to come, and I personally can’t wait to see what this series turns into. Will there be more magic? Will there just be more combat? And what about that wacky babysitter?

Overall...

I really enjoyed The Mostly Invisible Boy by A.J. Vanderhorst – it’s a classic middle-grade fantasy adventure which draws you right in. It’s also a set-up story for more books to come in the series – so I am very curious about the coming sequels and I hope I get to read them too!

The Mostly Invisible Boy by @ajvan is a middle grade #fantasy that draws you right in! But aside from being an adventure book, it's also a story about loneliness and friendship. Plus, there's more to come in the series! Click To Tweet

I thank the author for giving me a free copy of the ebook in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.

The Mostly Invisible Boy (Casey Grimes #1) by A.J. Vanderhorst

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Tanaz Masaba
5 months ago

I am not one for middle aged books, but this one sounds so wholesome and well-written that I am putting it in my list. Excellent review as always Avalinah. I love how you write your thoughts so eloquently and succinctly and highlight the exact reasons why you recommend a book <3