Invisibly Grace by Avery McDougall | PB
A brilliant debut novel from an important young Tasmanian voice.
High school is hard enough when you’re healthy. When you’ve got some weird, undiagnosable chronic illness, it’s a special hell.
Invisibly Grace is a contemporary young adult novel set in a fictional suburb of Launceston about a young woman with an autoimmune disease. Her family is new to the state and, to seem normal, Grace tries to hide her invisible illness at her new school. Through the course of the novel Grace makes friends and enemies, adores her sister, gets diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disorder, and looks to a future that she knows isn’t guaranteed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Avery McDougall lives in Launceston and works in youth support services. When searching for stories that represented life for young people with invisible illnesses, she came up short and very frustrated. There are 4.4 million people living in Australia with a disability and while 90% of them have invisible illnesses, there weren’t many stories about them, and even fewer with autoimmune disease. That’s why she wrote Invisibly Grace.
In the process of writing the book, McDougall interviewed over a hundred teenagers with autoimmune disease in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United Kingdom about their experiences in school and at home, and how they saw their future. McDougall was struck by the similarity among respondents’ stories and how her own life mirrored theirs. Battling with medication and side effects that are sometimes worse than the symptoms, watching friends re-evaluate as they discover you’re disabled, and feeling the need to protect loved ones from your pain were unanimous themes and ones that McDougall addresses in her book.
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