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Invisible Girl

A Novel

LIST PRICE $28.00

I absolutely loved Invisible Girl—Lisa Jewell has a way of combining furiously twisty, utterly gripping plots with wonderfully rich characterization—she has such compassion for her characters, and we feel we know them utterly… A triumph!” —Lucy Foley, New York Times bestselling author

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone returns with an intricate thriller about a young woman’s disappearance and a group of strangers whose lives intersect in its wake.

Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct—accusations he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel forums, where he meets a charismatic and mysterious figure.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

With evocative, vivid, and unputdownable prose and plenty of disturbing twists and turns, Jewell’s latest thriller is another “haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author).

Chapter 1: Saffyre 1 Saffyre
MY NAME IS Saffyre Maddox. I am seventeen years old.

I am mostly Welsh on my dad’s side and partly Trinidadian, partly Malaysian, and a tiny bit French from my mum. Sometimes people try to guess my heritage, but they always end up getting it wrong. If anyone asks I just say that I am a mixed bag and leave it at that. No reason for anyone to know who slept with who, you know. It’s my business really, isn’t it?

I’m in my first year of sixth form at a school in Chalk Farm, where I’m doing maths, physics, and biology because I’m a bit of a nerd. I don’t really know what I want to do when I leave school; everyone expects me to go to university, but sometimes I think I’d just like to go and work in a zoo, maybe, or a dog groomer’s.

I live in a two-bedroom flat on the eighth floor of a tower on Alfred Road, right opposite a school I don’t go to, because they hadn’t actually built it when I started secondary.

My grandma died shortly before I was born, my mum died shortly afterward, my dad didn’t want to know, and my granddad died a few months ago. So I live alone with my uncle.

He’s only ten years older than me, and his name is Aaron. He looks after me like a father. He works at a betting shop, nine to five, and does people’s gardens on the weekends. He’s probably the best human being in the world. I have another uncle, Lee, who lives in Essex with his wife and two tiny daughters. So there are finally some girls in the family, but it’s a bit late for me now.

I grew up with two men, and, as a result, I’m not that great with girls. Or, more accurately, I’m better with boys. I used to hang out with the boys when I was a kid and got called a tomboy, which I don’t think I ever was. But then I started to change and became “pretty” (and I do not think I’m pretty; I just know that everyone I meet tells me that I am), and boys stopped wanting to hang out as a mate and got all weird around me, and I could tell that I’d be better off if I could harvest some girls. So I harvested some girls, and we’re not close—don’t reckon I’ll ever see any of them again once I’ve left school—but we get on OK just as something to do. We’ve all known each other a long, long time now. It’s easy.

So that’s the bare outline of me. I’m not a happy, happy kind of person. I don’t have a big laugh, and I don’t do that hugging thing that the other girls like to do. I have boring hobbies: I like to read, and I like to cook. I’m not big on going out. I like a bit of rum with my uncle on a Friday night while we’re watching TV, but I don’t smoke weed or take drugs or anything like that. It’s amazing how boring you can get away with being when you’re pretty. No one seems to notice. When you’re pretty everyone just assumes you must have a great life. People are so short-sighted, sometimes. People are so stupid.

I have a dark past, and I have dark thoughts. I do dark things, and I scare myself sometimes. I wake in the middle of the night, and I’ve twisted myself into my bedsheets. Before I go to sleep, I tuck my bedsheet under the mattress, really hard, really firm, so the sheet is taut enough to bounce a coin off. The next morning all four corners are free; my sheet and I are entwined. I don’t remember what happened. I don’t remember my dreams. I don’t feel rested.

When I was ten years old something really, really bad happened to me. Let’s maybe not get into that too deep. But yes, I was a little girl, and it was a big bad thing that no little girl should have to experience, and it changed me. I started to hurt myself, on my ankles, inside my ankle socks, so no one would see the scratches. I knew what self-harming was—everyone knows these days—but I didn’t know why I was doing it. I just knew that it stopped me thinking too hard about other things in my life.

Then when I was about twelve my uncle Aaron saw the scratches and the scars, put two and two together, and took me to my GP, who referred me to the Portman Children’s Centre for therapy.

I was sent to a man called Roan Fours.
Photograph (c) Andrew Whitton

Lisa Jewell is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eighteen novels, including The Family Upstairs and Then She Was Gone, as well as Watching You and I Found You. Her novels have sold more than 4.5 million copies internationally, and her work has also been translated into twenty-five languages. Connect with her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK, on Instagram @LisaJewellUK, and on Facebook @LisaJewellOfficial.

"I absolutely loved Invisible Girl—Lisa Jewell has a way of combining furiously twisty, utterly gripping plots with wonderfully rich characterisation—she has such compassion for her characters and we feel we know them utterly. To anyone who claims crime fiction is plot at the expense of character, I prescribe Lisa Jewell. A triumph!"

– LUCY FOLEY, New York Times bestselling author of The Guest List

"I'm obsessed."

– Crime by the Book

“This weekend I finished Lisa Jewell’s gripping Invisible Girl and it was such a joy not to be able to put a book down. Her best yet."

– JOJO MOYES, New York Times bestselling author of The Giver of Stars

“I loved it. Every damn word.”

– AJ FINN, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

“Compelling and surprisingly moving—Lisa Jewell never lets you down.”

– CLARE MACKINTOSH, New York Times bestselling author of I Let You Go

“A masterclass in character... A wonderful slow-burn gripper—I loved it.”

– LOUISE CANDLISH, author of Our House

“Another masterpiece from a novelist whose grip on human nature in its flawed entirety never slips. Invisible Girl is gripping, disturbing and acutely observant; Jewell is an extremely special writer."

– ALEX MARWOOD, author of The Wicked Girls

“Jewell showcases the many ways that sexism can creep in and infect everyday moments . . . dark, sharp, and thought-provoking.”

– BUST Magazine

“A breathtakingly brilliant novel by an author at the absolute top of her game.”

– JENNY COLGAN, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop on the Corner

“Lisa Jewell is the kind of writer you read twice—once as a breathless reader to see how the story unfolds, and then again to see how she makes it look so easy.”

– ERIN KELLY, author of He Said, She Said

“I am always reminded of Ruth Rendell at her very best when I read Lisa Jewell. Not only is her plotting masterful, Lisa has the rare ability to make you care—passionately—about all her characters, whether they are important or minor, instantly appealing or apparently monstrous. Invisible Girl is quite brilliant in every way.”

– JANE CASEY, author of The Burning

“She isn’t afraid of plunging an icy blade into her readers’ hearts whilst examining the cruel realities of the world.”

– ADELE PARKS, author of I Invited Her In

“A masterclass in how to write with pace and tension.”

– HARRIET TYCE, author of Blood Orange

“Dark, gripping, emotionally intense. My heart hurt from being squeezed so tight.”

– TAMAR COHEN, author of The Mistress’s Revenge

More books from this author: Lisa Jewell