A fun middle grade fantasy full of adventure and life lessons
Thank you so much to TBR and Beyond Tours and Reese Eschmann for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary ARC and media kit!
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 Invisible Girl, the superhero who takes down super villain Petra Fide and does all the things Etta thinks she can’t.
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? LMA has run onto a magical train that mysteriously arrived at the station near Etta and Eleazar’s houses. On-board, 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 LMA.
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.
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54304084-etta-invincible
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1534468374/
- Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/etta-invincible-reese-eschmann/1137251819
- Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Etta-Invincible-Reese-Eschmann/9781534468375
- Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/etta-invincible/9781534468375-item.html
- IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781534468375
Content and Trigger Warnings
For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.
About the Author
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.
- Website: https://reeseeschmann.com/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/reesespieces21_
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reesespieces21_/
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20455191.Reese_Eschmann
Review (no spoilers)
If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.
Happy Friday, all! Today’s review is for a fun middle grade fantasy novel about a girl with Ménière’s disease (Etta) and a boy who’s just moved to Chicago from Colombia (Eleazar). Something weird and magical is going on in Chicago, and the two of them seem to be the only ones who notice. When Eleazar’s pet dog disappears into the mysterious train that seems to be the root of everything, Etta and Eleazar team up to get her back.
This novel was a fun exploration into what it means to grow up and accept all parts of yourself, fear and hope alike. I will say that I would put it on the upper end of the middle grade age category as sometimes it did feel a bit like I was reading a younger YA novel instead of an MG. I am always a huge fan of books that introduce a diverse range of characters and Etta Invincible really delivered. We have a Black main character with a disability, a Latinx main character who is learning English as a second language, and a couple of Japanese American side/secondary characters as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Etta and Eleazar did not let the language/hearing barrier come between their developing friendship. Etta makes uses of a translation/speech-to-text app on her phone to keep up communication between them and both of them exhibit a lovely amount of patience with each other when the app doesn’t quite get things right. Overall, I found these characters to be welcoming and understanding with each other and I absolutely loved it.
The main plot does focus around a magical secret world that only Eleazar and Etta are aware of initially. I was a bit skeptical about how the author was going to explain these things, but I was surprisingly satisfied with how everything came to a close in the final chapters. I wouldn’t have guessed that this was a debut novel with how well I felt things were thought through. The only aspect I wasn’t 100% sure about was the super-speed scene, so if anyone could explain that to me, please do.
Really, my main complaint about Etta Invincible was that I wish there were more graphic novel insertions throughout. The first and last chapter are illustrated in a comic-style, and the art is one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen. I was saddened to discover that these comics weren’t going to be a regular occurrence throughout the book as I think it could’ve added something a little extra to the reading experience.
Love the sound of this. It’s going on my school wishlist.
LikeLiked by 1 person