“How to Disappear,” the second young adult novel by local author Sharon Huss Roat, will be published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, on Aug. 15. That night, celebrate during a launch party hosted by The Hockessin Book Shelf under a tent at the Woodside Farm Creamery in Hockessin, from 6–8 p.m.
The novel tells the story of 16-year-old Vicky Decker, whose social anxiety becomes unbearable when her best friend moves away. She invents a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures and posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly attracting followers, Vicky soon makes a whole new life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she amasses online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her—#alone and #ignored in real life. To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life.
“This is a witty, hard-to-put-down novel,” wrote School Library Journal, the premiere publication for librarians who work with teens, in a starred review. “Those who enjoy Laurie Halse Anderson’s works and Sophie Kinsella’s ‘Finding Audrey’ will want to snap up this funny, important, touching and, at times, profound title.” Others have compared it to the Tony-award winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” which also explores the struggle to belong. “Sharon Huss Roat has brilliantly captured everything that’s beautiful and terrible about social media, and all the ways it can’t possibly compete with real life. If you’re a fan of Broadway’s ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ or if you’re, you know, any human being living in the 21st century, you need to read this,” wrote Lance Rubin, one of many authors who shared advance praise for the book.
Local booksellers are also offering rave reviews. “To every kid who feels out of place, different or struggling with social, emotional or identity issues, this is your book,” said Rebecca Dowling, owner of the Hockessin Book Shelf. “As a bookseller, I cannot wait to put this in the hands of readers this August. I would recommend this book to every eighth grader as a primer for high school, for juniors and seniors as a reminder, for guidance counselors because you do make a difference, and to parents because it is a journey. Put this on your to-be-read list!”
Roat lives in Hockessin with her husband and two children. She worked in public relations for more than 20 years before writing her first novel, ‘Between the Notes,’ which was published by HarperTeen in 2015.
The event on Aug. 15 is open to the public, and books will be available for purchase on site. To reserve a copy to be signed by the author at the event, call the store at (302) 235-7665.
Roat will also make appearances at the Barnes & Noble Teen BookFest at Christiana Mall on Sept. 23 and at the Hockessin Art and Book Fair on Nov. 4. For details on these and other events, visit www.sharonroat.com.