[This post is done as part of GaCoWriMo, my own personal twist to NaNoWriMo.]
Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.
Man, I really need to start reading book blurbs properly.
Just like how I totally expected the wrong thing with Confessions, Invisibility was a surprise – I thought it would be a more introspective, contemporary fiction title, all about romance, relationship dynamics and character changes, just with a supernatural twist/premise. Instead, it turned out to be a solid adventure with an interesting, if not very deep, plot (of which the romance is integral to but isn’t the story itself), which I really much prefer, to be honest.
Invisibility reads well, an indication of its pedigree. The writing is easy to follow and the pacing is great – it never gets too slow or veer off course into philosophical overload, as such premises can risk engendering. The action is brisk and the buildup to the climax kept my eyes on the page long after I should have gone to sleep. The worldbuilding is, while not terribly deep or detailed, interesting and quite different from the usual concepts I’ve read.
There are, however, some niggling issues that keep it from being a must-recommend. Firstly, the story is told through two perspectives (written, I assume, by the authors individually) but they don’t sound that different. Sure, there are subtle differences and it helps that the chapters alternate between them but they’re still quite alike. To add to that, characterization isn’t great: Elizabeth is annoyingly frustrating in her responses to everything, Stephen is a little too perfect while Laurie, the most endearing one there, also titters on the edge of being too good a guy. Plus, the main villain doesn’t have much motivation or relatibility – he’s basically maniacal and evil for the sake of it
There are several info dumps throughout the story, which are interesting to read but seem too convenient. Also convenient: that the only person who can see Stephen happens to move in to the same building and on the same floor.
Like many YA novels, there’s also the problem of instalove – they just got to know each other and they are loving to the point of self-sacrifice?
Overall, Invisibility makes for a good quick read. I had gone into it thinking I wouldn’t like it much (only choosing it because it had a mildly interesting concept and great pedigree). The existence of an actual plot (rather than just focusing on two characters in love) and the way it was told made it a much more engaging page-turner than I expected. Still, the problems mentioned above, while not big separately, keep it from being great (or even all that memorable).