Now You See Her

Image of Now You See Her
Release Date: 
June 26, 2018
Katherine Tegen Books
Reviewed by: 

“a fast-moving, exciting, sometimes near-harrowing story of one of man’s basic fears, that of the denial of one’s true identity by those he loves.”

“I’m not sure why I started hating Sophie Graham. Maybe because there’s always been a version of her wherever we lived.”

In a way, Sophie Graham is a bit of a bête noir to Amelia Fischer. Sophie is the Beautiful Person, the girl who has everything. She is the best, does the best, has the best, while Amelia is the girl with the single parent family, living on the edge of poverty, always moving to where the job market is better for someone who’s a hospice worker.

Amelia knows everything there is to know about Sophie, so much so she could be Sophie’s best friend, if Sophie acknowledged she was alive, that is.

What happens is the final blow. Amelia has always been good at tennis. It’s her single claim to fame, but in this, their final match, she loses to Sophie, and this time, Amelia feels as if she’s lost everything. She’s just learned that her mother is moving again, and the triumph she take with her is now lost. Once again, the Golden Girl gets the glory.

It’s on the way home after that last match that the nightmare begins. In a pouring rainstorm, Amelia’s car breaks down. Someone stops to help, a stranger—but he knows Amelia’s name. Then he’s pulling her out of the car and she’s fighting to get away, and she runs directly into the path of an oncoming car—driven by Sophia Graham.

When Amelia awakens, she’s in a hospital, but she knows immediately something is wrong because there are two people beside her bed, saying they are her mother and father. Amelia knows her father died when she was a baby. When she gets a closer look at the people, she even more shocked because they are Sophie’s parents, and . . .

 . . . she is now Sophie.

“This isn’t happening. I’m dreaming. I slap at my cheeks and the woman is up and screaming at the nurse to get help but I can’t hear the sound because I’m pinching at my arms which I’ve always thought seemed like a stupid way to see if you’re dreaming but there’s nothing else to do.”

Somehow, in that moment of the collision, the two girls exchanged bodies. Now Sophie lies in a coma, imprisoned in Amelia’s body and Amelia possesses Sophie’s, but no one will believe her.

Forcing herself to pretend, Amelia uses all her acquired knowledge of her rival, living with Sophie’s parents, going about Sophie’s usual routine, while she tries to find a way to get back into her real self. Along the way, she’ll discover Sophia’s picture-perfect life is far from perfect, that there’s a deep, dark mystery tying the two girls together, and uncovering it will change not only Amelia’s life but also Sophie’s forever.

There have been many stories of personality switches: one person, through accident or magic, changes bodies with someone else. Usually, these are played for comedic effect—the switched being placed in embarrassing situations because of his lack of knowledge that the other person possesses. Now You See Her plays that plot in deadly seriousness. Sophie is dying, and Amelia realizes she has only a short time to get herself back where she belongs before she’s trapped forever in her friend’s body.

Showing unusual ingenuity, she begins to unravel the mystery of Sophie’s life, discovering the secret connection between the two and how and why she has this love/hate affinity for her so-called rival.

With a sense of urgency easily conveyed to the reader, Amelia fights against her “new” family, who believes she’s suffering some kind of extended post-traumatic episode resulting from the accident, as well as her “real” family who thinks she’s simply harassing them. She gains some supporters among Sophie’s friends, as well as a would-be boyfriend, rallying to help, though they also agree she isn’t acting as they think Sophie should.

This story encompasses that nightmare scenario of being trapped in a situation where no one believes what you say and every action is attributed to shock or the onset of an emotional illness, where the truth is brushed aside as mere hysteria.

Now You See Her is a fast-moving, exciting, sometimes near-harrowing story of one of man’s basic fears, that of the denial of one’s true identity by those he loves. Authors Leighton and Stropki have taken this premise and written a truly unique story.