In this touching, “snappy…[, and] well-paced” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) debut middle grade novel, 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 Invincible Girl, the superhero who takes down super villain Petra Fide. Invincible Girl is brave, daring, and bold—everything Etta wishes she could be.
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? Louisa May has run onto a magical train that mysteriously arrived at the station near Etta and Eleazar’s houses. Onboard, 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 Louisa May.
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.
Reese Eschmann holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Illinois at 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. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @ReesesPieces21_ or at ReeseEschmann.com.
Publisher: Aladdin (July 12, 2022)
Length: 368 pages
Grades: 3 - 7
Ages: 8 - 12
Lexile ® 680L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®
"Eschmann (the Home for Meow series) grounds the train’s Hayao Miyazaki–like atmosphere in both children’s realities, involving Etta’s interest in art-making as well as her use of sign language and Google Translate to communicate with others, including Eleazar, whose first language is Spanish. Lusky’s (Primer) interstitial b&w comics panels bring vivid life to Etta’s original comic book creations."
– Publisher's Weekly
"With snappy narration that’s rich in sensory detail and metaphor, readers progress through well-paced storytelling that is ethereal and artfully inclusive.
This hopeful adventure leaves an indelible mark."
– Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"I’m on the ETTA INVINCIBLE train! Readers will cheer for Etta and Eleazar, who search for creativity and friendship, deal with losses, and find hope in the face of fear to ultimately become their own superheroes."
— Rajani LaRocca, Newbery Honor and Walter Award winning author of Red, White, and Whole, Midsummer's Mayhem, and Much Ado About Baseball.