Thank you to TBR & Beyond Tours and Net Galley for a review copy of the book.

About the Book

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Publishing date: July 12th, 2022

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Rep: Black, Disability (Hard of Hearing/Ménière’s disease)


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 Invisible Girl, the superhero who takes down super villain Petra Fide and does all the things Etta thinks she can’t.

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? LMA has run onto a magical train that mysteriously arrived at the station near Etta and Eleazar’s houses. On-board, 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 LMA.

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.

Favorite Quotes

This is a magical app. It’s not Google translate-see? It’s named Ms. Suzy.

I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my  ship

Grandma never met Louisa. We got her when we moved here.

I knew about the quiet fist, i say, I didn’t know about the dizziness and the ringing or that there was no cure. It doesn’t feel good. If you ever go to space, I won’t be coming with you. 

It’s not an engine, it’s more like home right?

When a child is looking for something but can’t seem to find it- like courage or friends or knowledge- they show up on one of these screens. The train sends them an invitation with their name on it. Only people who are invited can see the train and their name in fireworks. 

Yes, but fulfilling wishes is the easy part. Figuring out your heart’s true desire is where things get tricky. Sometimes when things are too easy, too magical, we realize that what we need isn’t what we thought we wanted.

Five Reasons to read Etta Invincible 

Rating: 4 stars

1- The Characters

Characters are a big reason a lot of us read stories, and Etta Invincible for me was no different. I loved the characters in the story because they were so unique, and  different from a lot of the other characters I’ve seen in books. As a person who also uses hearing aids, I loved seeing Etta also be hard of hearing, and have quiet days, and loud days, because it felt real for me. Eleazar was a fantastic character as well, and I loved his journey in the story. 

2- A story about a magical train

This was a story that was like one I had not heard a lot. Some elements of the plot reminded me of The Polar Express with the magical train, but this story has a unique twist. The story is fun, and also has some lessons about acceptance, love, and finding a friend. Etta Invincible also incorporates a comic, which is not only fun, it incorporates elements of the major story as well. My favorite part of the plot was how well done the train was, and how much the train played as a character in the story.  

3- Contemporary mixed with fantasy elements

Etta Invincible starts off in Chicago, and you think you’re going to get a contemporary story about two kids finding their way if you don’t read the synopsis.    The fantasy elements incorporated with the train were fantastic, and it was such a great way to add fantasy into a contemporary story. Time passes differently on the magical train, and this just adds to the world and fantasy elements. A magical train is a portal to another world, and they use fantastically this in Etta Invincible.  

4- A dog named Louisa May Alcott 

Everyone loves a good pet, or animal companion in their stories, and the dog in Etta Invincible is fantastic. Louisa May Alcott serves as a companion for Eleazar, she’s a memory of where he comes from, while also severing as a way for  him to adapt to his new home. Louisa May Alcott is not only a fantastic name, but she serves as a friend and a companion for both Etta and Eleazar. 

5-  A sweet friendship 

This was a Middle-Grade novel, so it was more about the friendships with the characters than it was about a romance. Etta and Eleazar had such a sweet friendship, and it was all because of both of them meeting on the bus one day. They both didn’t know each other, and then bonded over Louisa May Alcott, and a friendship blossomed from that. Once on the train, they met other characters, and they formed a beautiful friendship with them as well.  

About the Author

Reese Eschmann holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois-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.

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