I just wrote down the first title for next summer’s middle school reading list: The Last Invisible Boy by Evan Kuhlman. I missed this one somehow – even with its starred review from School Library Journal. I picked up a copy in a bookstore last week, started reading, and ended up walking to the check-out area while still reading. I’ll be honest. This is a sad book. The back cover tells you that the book is sad and funny, and that’s true, but it’s mostly sad. That is not to take away from the story of Finn, a twelve-year-old boy, telling the story of his life after his father dies. Finn is sincere and funny and just an overall good kid.
I like this book for middle school students because its ultimately a story about the importance of memories. Kuhlman wisely lets Finn tell his own story and he even addresses the reader at times. I like that. It felt so immediate and made Finn more sympathetic. In the style of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Finn also uses drawings to tell his story, and they really work. The style feels age-appropriate and make the reading experience more intimate. This book will definitely be a staple of future Inly Middle School reading lists.