BOOK REVIEW: The Girl Who Wasn’t There by Penny Joelson

Title: The Girl Who Wasn’t There
Author: Penny Joelson
Publication: October 26, 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Teens, YA Fiction
Pages: 207

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

I know what I saw.

Nothing ever happens on Kasia’s street. And Kasia would know. Her illness keeps her home for days at a time, with little to do but watch the world from her bedroom window. So when she witnesses what looks like a kidnapping, she’s not sure she can believe her own eyes…

So she sets out to find the only other witness. The girl in the window across the street. The girl who was also watching when things went down.

But what Kasia discovers shocks her more than the kidnapping itself.

There is no girl.


**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

I was almost expecting this to have a supernatural twist when I first chose it, but still wanted to read it. I had never read a book by penny Joelson, and I have to say, I will be picking up more.

This story follows Kasia as she spends most of her time looking out her window on her neighborhood street. She first suspects she sees a girl in the upstairs window at the same time she suspects she sees a girl abducted off the street. But when the cops find nothing, she isn’t so sure. Struggling from her diagnoses of ME, we follow Kasia’s struggle with understanding what she sees across the street, dealing with her disorder, and making new friends when possible.

I love how this story has that mystery element to it which gives us a great story to try and solve, but I also love all the other elements Joelson brought to this book. There’s a lesson in how Kasia has to find new ways to do the things she did before and how to live with what her health has dealt her. There’s a lot of lessons about friendship and loving others no matter what, along with staying friends with the ones who still love you no matter what. And lastly there is a little romance involved. To top it off there is a great, mind twisting mystery that has you constantly guessing what the outcome will be.

Overall, I enjoyed watching Kasia learn to love herself and trust herself on what choices she made and what she believes is right. This was a true coming of age story with a great mystery story involved that touched on a worldwide issue plaguing us, human trafficking.

I think anyone who loves a good YA Fiction that shows a lot of growth within the characters and development, this is a story for you. Plus if you love a good mystery, this is definitely a great bonus. The story kept me guessing until the very end and the characters were some of the most enjoyable I have read in a long time. Wonderful story. I cannot wait for more from her.


Pick up your copy of The Girl Who Wasn’t There by Penny Joelson on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Check out more from author Penny Joelson on her website HERE.

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