Published: August 15th 2017 by HarperTeen
Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable.
So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realizes she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds 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.
CW’s: Anxiety & Panic Attacks, Ableism from a parent, Suicide Attempt of a side character (prevented)
Representation 🌷 Social Anxiety
Social Anxiety Rep 🌸
Vicky’s story was so close to my heart! ➽ She struggles with social anxiety and when her only friend at school moves away, things take a turn for the worse. Vicky has trouble making friends, speaking up, and going out of her comfort zone. No longer having her person to navigate everyday life takes a toll on her, especially her friend Jenna simply ditches her. I really felt Vicky’s hurt, loneliness, and issues with social interactions. The representation was simply ON POINT and really spoke to me! Vicky hasn’t ever had therapy and is too intimidated to go to the counselor’s office. I appreciated that the book showed her journey to get help and maybe an official diagnosis. Her mother is often dismissive of her anxiety and embodies the common misconception that anxious people just need a ‘push’ to come out of their comfort zone. Their interactions were hard to read, as Vicky’s mum doesn’t understand her own daughter, and her attempts to change her backfire. I was really proud of Vicky for the growth she went through in the end!
The Impact of Social Media Fame📱
In her loneliness, Vicky creates an Instagram account … that goes viral. ➽ Without Jenna by her side, Vicky is even more isolated than before. She loves photography and editing images, so in order to combat her feeling out of place … she photoshops herself into different scenarios. Virtually she can be in so many different places at once and she hopes to make others feel less alone with her captions and pictures. Her face is never shown, so no one knows it’s her. At first, it starts out as a coping mechanism for her loneliness, but then her account gets recognized by people with bigger followings and before she knows it her account Vicurious is Instagram famous! Vicky loves engaging with others that feel as lonely and lost as she does, but as her account grows, the pressure of fame gets to her. No one knows who she is and while she loves her project, it’s getting impossible to keep up with everyone. I loved the inclusion of Social Media and how it can connect people, but also be overwhelming.
Slowburn Romance ❤️
The romance was very sweet but didn’t overpower the story. ➽ Lipton is one of Vicky’s classmates whom she never gave much thought to. After losing Jenna, he is the only one making an effort to get to know her and connect with her. Their growing friendship was awkward but felt very authentic, given that Vicky struggles to make and maintain contact with others. Lipton was always patient and you could tell that he was genuinely interested in her, as he could tell there was more than meets the eye. Eventually, romantic feelings become involved and we get a beautiful slowburn romance that felt right for Vicky. There is no ‘cure’ involved and Lipton is merely the support she needs to get better on her own. The book addresses how her anxiety impacts her budding romance and yet still had sweet, lighthearted moments!
- Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
- Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
- Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Did you read How to Disappear? What is your favorite book with anxiety representation? 🌸