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October 12, 2022

If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang ~ a Review

by MK French


Alice Sun is the only scholarship student at a prestigious Beijing international boarding school, where she hopes to finally lift her family out of poverty. But just as she finds out that her parents can't afford her tuition, even with the scholarship, she is turning invisible. This power allows her access to all the secrets her rich and powerful classmates have, and selling off this skill for a price will keep her in the school. Tasks soon escalate from petty scandals to actual crimes, so Alice must decide if helping her family is worth losing her conscience or her life.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of young adult novel If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang
October 2022; Inkyard Press; 978-1335915849
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); young adult

The school means so much to Alice in the beginning, as well as other people seeing her as successful despite her lack of wealth. She works so hard but is essentially invisible, so when she actually turns invisible, only Henry really cares. He's her academic rival, and the two notice each other far too closely for it to be just hate. Her jobs as the Beijing Ghost at first were to follow someone and take pictures, to delete nudes from a phone, and such things. Those are easy for her to do, for all that she fumbles aspects. The jobs escalate until it gets to the one that's more than just following, observing, or stealing objects. She thinks it's tolerable for the payout, so she can afford the tuition, but this pushes her to a crisis of conscience. 

This YA novel has the socially invisible turn actually invisible. She's hollow, where even teachers tell her that she's still a child, and her parents tell her that her priorities are skewed. Her sheer focus on school reminds me of Hermione from the Harry Potter movie where she warned the boys that they might die, or worse get expelled. But there is more than school and money, and Alice sees the value in friends, connections, and doing what she loves, not just what will get her top marks. The final quarter of the book was quite a ride, and I loved how everything came together. This is a wonderful book, and I'm so glad to have read it.



Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.



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