Has Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs?


By Simon Packham | Cover illustrations & design by Becka Moor
Published 7th April 2022 | ISBN 9781913102722

Archie Ebbs has the perfect life. Good friends, a nice home and classmates who laugh at (nearly) all his jokes. But all that is about to change. As his family have to face unsettling times, Archie has his own worries …

Is he really starting to become invisible?


Praise for the book

ʻHas Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs is a hugely empathetic read that’s warm, fun and full of heart.ʼ Ben Davis, author of The Soup Movement and The Private Blog of Joe Cowley series

ʻI was rooting for Archie Ebbs from the very first sentence. An important message wrapped up in humour, empathy, a mystery to solve and a touch of magic. Archie’s story is a call to pay attention to people around us because we don’t know what problems they’re facing. And it’s a reminder that, with the wrong luck, any of us could become an Archie Ebbs.ʼ Claire Fayers, author of Storm Hound


Why we love it:

ʻArchie is a happy-go-lucky, completely normal boy – and hidden homelessness is, sadly, normal for increasing numbers of children. Itʼs great to see Archie dealing with the difficulties he faces with such humour and – ultimately – things do work out for the best!ʼ Rebecca Lloyd, editor

2 reviews for Has Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs?

  1. EM Watson

    Has Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs?

    An engrossing story, packed with wholly relatable fun characters, brilliantly crafted around the very real-world painful truths of what life is like for a family when they become evicted and homeless. And more than that, what it’s like to be friendless and overlooked — to be invisible in a crowded room. I’d be truly surprised if this doesn’t become an instant favourite for readers and teachers alike.

    Archie Ebbs is one of the most popular kids in his year six class. He loves telling jokes – good and cringeworthy – and making crazy homemade movies with his pals. Life is, to sum it up, great. But when he, his mother, and sister, Izzy, are evicted from their family home and have to enter temporary accommodation, his whole life takes a plunge.

    Manton House, their ‘temporary’ home, is a rundown set of apartments set across three floors, right at the edge of town. The graffiti under the sign, says it all – ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’.

    Having had to give up his cat, Dinger, there is a reluctant realisation that, as his sister insists, he needs to keep his friends at bay too. The embarrassment would be too much, at least for Izzy, who ditches her boyfriend to avoid losing him when he sees their plight.

    With no wifi to talk to his friends, and having turned down sleepovers and visits, Archie soon discovers his friends seem to be ignoring him. In fact, soon they and his teachers don’t seem to be able to see him at all! As things get progressively worse in Manton House, Archie makes a surprising new friend in the basement laundry room, Zofia. She happens to be in the same class as Archie, and has been for the last two years, and yet, he can’t recall seeing her at all. Like Archie, she has truly become invisible to everyone but her family.

    From this one event comes the rebirth, rise of Archie Ebbs. Of course, along the way, there is fun to be had, as well as rescuing Dinger from Mrs Watts’ house. And then there’s the matter of a large sum of money, destined to pay for the end of school celebration, that has been stolen from their classroom.

    A five star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ read and recommendation.

  2. Liam James

    I found Has Anyone Seen Archie Ebbs a really interesting book. It deals with something I’ve really not seen handled in middle grade fiction before, the idea of a family falling off the bottom of the housing ladder, being placed in emergency accommodation and all that comes with it. And I felt like it handled this really, really well. There was Archie’s confusion and upset about why this was happening to them, and his worries about their cat, left behind with a neighbour and how he would cope. There was his sister’s sense of shame, that she couldn’t possibly let anyone in school see where she was living, pushed to a (very believable) extreme of posting social media photos of them outside other houses, and pushing her boyfriend away so that he doesn’t see her there.. There was also their mother’s reactions, anger and resentment at the unhelpful council officers, and her sense of failure, that she’d let her family down badly. I thought this whole element of the book was fantastic. Speaking of the fantastic, there’s another major element to this book, that does push it into the realm of fantasy. Archie turns invisible. His schoolfriends and teachers can no longer see him, though his family can, as can the other “social reject” in his class, a refugee girl living in the same crappy B&B. I honestly found this part of the book really weird., and it felt like we were expected to just accept an awful lot without explanation. Why does Archie have to self-register every morning if no one can remember that he’s supposed to be a pupil there? No one ever comments on him missing class. It’s not just that he’s invisible, it’s like he’s always ceased to be, all of a sudden. Then he comes back, in the middle of giving a speech, and no one says “Where did you come from?” They all just accept that he’s part of the class just as quickly and easily as they accept that he wasn’t. It feels like there was a great metaphor for people becoming invisible, that was pushed into them actually being invisible, but it still feels pretty rough around the edges. I like it as an idea, I’d just like to have seen a little more about what’s happening in other people’s perception of him, past and present. One standout part of the book, however, was the treatment of the class bully, the disruptive element of the class always in trouble. Showing us some of his private life and why he is the way he is was beautifully done.

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