Friday, May 3, 2013

Review: Invisibility

INVISIBILITY
Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Paranormal Young Adult
358 pages
Philomel
Available May 7th
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Amazon)
Stephen is used to invisibility. He was born that way. Invisible. Cursed.

Elizabeth sometimes wishes for invisibility. When you’re invisible, no one can hurt you. So when her mother decides to move the family to New York City, Elizabeth is thrilled. It’s easy to blend in there.

Then Stephen and Elizabeth meet. To Stephen’s amazement, she can see him. And to Elizabeth’s amazement, she wants him to be able to see her—all of her. But as the two become closer, an invisible world gets in their way—a world of grudges and misfortunes, spells and curses. And once they’re thrust into this world, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how deep they’re going to go—because the answer could mean the difference between love and death.

MY THOUGHTS
Invisibility is a quiet, nebulous story, remaining ever-changing and indistinct as we read, shifting in form as it continues so that we never quite know where it's headed. Written in alternating first-person points of view, this slightly strange and intriguing tale is beautifully told, sweeping us up immediately in the melancholic loneliness of Stephen's non-existence, and delighting us with its attention to detail when it comes to all the questions we have as to the day to day life of an invisible boy. Just when we settle in thinking we're going to be gifted with an intimate portrayal of this cursed young man–watching as his isolation slips away and companionship takes his place–the story seems to jump forward quickly with a declaration of love and the introduction of a magical lineage, moving us away from that which originally attracted our interest.

Stephen and Elizabeth are both thoroughly enjoyable characters, their witty exchanges and the sheer relief we feel on Stephen's behalf at the fact he finally exists for someone in a sensory capacity other than sound or touch combining to render us giddy in the initial chapters. That giddiness and excitement over the potential of these two characters to be the type who linger in our memories long after reading starts to fade as their relationship progresses to the love stage with unfortunate speed, and then just as soon as the focus on the romance comes into being, it's set aside again in favor of the mystery of Stephen's condition. Once the focus shifts away from the two of them as individuals–as well as their relationship together–and onto this new magical world, our connection to each thins, and while we're still invested in their story, that investment isn't as strong as we hoped it would be after our reaction to the opening chapters.

The highlight of this relatively small cast of characters is Elizabeth's younger brother Laurie, a young man who provides the voice of reason, the shoulder to cry on, and the comic relief, and who simply infuses every scene he's in with a smile-inducing warmth. We learn just a little of his past, but it's enough to have our fingers curling into claws around the pages, protectiveness flaring instantly and with vehemence, ready to do battle should anyone take issue with him. He is a joy at every turn, and we can't help but wish Elizabeth and Stephen inspired in us the same emotional attachment.

For all that this world is full of magic, Ms. Cremer and Mr. Levithan do not create a magical conclusion full of miracles and soothing pleasantries, instead many things are left unresolved, a fact that will likely disappoint those readers (like me) who love neatly wrapped packages and happily ever afters, but at the same time we have to tip our hats to both authors for not taking the easy way out. Overall, Invisibility is a well-written story with a haunting quality to the way events unfold, a slow rising of the curtain to reveal a world of spells and curses nestled in the middle of everyday life that wreaks havoc on our sense of anticipation, there are just a few wishes with regard to Stephen and Elizabeth that keep this story from a higher rating.

Rating: 3.5/5
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46 comments:

  1. I've been looking forward to this book for AGES, and I have to admit, it's a shame that it was a bit of a disappointment. The romance between Stephen and Elizabeth seems way too insta-lovey and I usually have issues with that. And the concept that first drew me in-- the magical quality-- seems to be underwhelmed. While I may still pick this up just for the sake of Cremer and Levithan's writing, I now know that I should go into it with caution. Thanks for the beautiful review, Jenny!

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    1. It's definitely insta-love. I was bummed about that part because Stephen's opening chapter was GORGEOUS, and I thought the story would be us watching as Elizabeth chips away at his loneliness. Instead the romance happens in the first third, and then we move on to the magic (which was definitely interesting, I just wasn't quite expecting the shift).

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  2. I've been dreading to read your review …. I know you had some complains but.. I wantedt to love this book so much !!!! I#m so sad you didn't completely fall in love with this book as I know I won't either now…

    I have only read one Levithan book which I loved to pieces, but also there the ending wasn't tighly paked and picture perfect. But it's also something I actually love to have..

    Ah Jenny I am conflicted now!

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    1. It's worth a read for sure, I just didn't connect too much with Stephen or Elizabeth after the first several chapters (which I loved). Laurie though? LOVED him.

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  3. Hm...and I did not know she had written this book with someone

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    1. Yep:) It's a very interesting story!

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  4. Oh I'm dying to read this one and now even more. I mean if the book is full of magic I'd love to read it. I wouldn't mind if some things were left unfinished. I love it actually because then I can imagine things myself. Wonderful review Jenny :)

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    1. Can't wait to see what you think Tanja!

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  5. I adore the entire concept surrounding Elizabeth and Stephen, it sounds like such a magical yet heart breaking world to be in. I'm sorry that you weren't able to enjoy this one as much as you'd hoped Jenny. I'm quite liking endings which are left unresolved lately, so at least I know I have that to look forward too, when I give this book a try. Gorgeous review Jenny! :)

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    1. I liked the magic aspect, it just sort of seemed to pop up out of nowhere (well, obviously not out of nowhere given Stephen's invisible to start with). The focus was on the romance and that's kind of where I figured it would stay for the most part, but then it was kind of like "Okay, they're in love now, moving on...."

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  6. Nice review!! I find myself curious about this one because I enjoyed Andrea's previous books and heard good things about David's! Might have to give this one a try anyway!

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    1. I really enjoyed Andrea's Nightshade prequels and I've only read a short story by David, but I enjoyed that as well. They both write beautifully:)

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  7. I do like my neatly wrapped ending! The characters sound fantastic in this one, enough reason to read this story, anyway. Not sure about the rest of the story, as it seems like there's not much else going on (maybe I'm wrong).

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    1. I do too, especially in this case given Stephen's invisible and that raises a lot of questions about his future:) There's a lot going on with Stephen's curse, I just wasn't expecting the magic to play as big a role as it did, I went in thinking it was going to be more relationship based. It was my own misconception, but it threw me off for a little while.

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  8. Oh no! You are the first person to mention that the ending was less than satisfactory. That makes me a little bit nervous now!! I have heard so many great things about this one and already have it pre-ordered for my Kindle. I can't wait to read it.
    I am glad you still really enjoyed this one even if the ending wasn't all happily ever after. ;)

    Have a nice weekend!!

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    1. I'm that reader that likes everything wrapped up though, so if you don't mind things being a little more open, you'll be good to go:)

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  9. Wow, girl you have a way with words....I hate that tragic everyday event crap, thats why I read, I like the impossible to be possible. This one is not on the TBR so I prob wont get to it, but I did love Levithans Everyday, that one was awesome.

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    1. Thank you Tina! I'll have to read Everyday, I've only read his short story that he wrote for HarperTeen Impulse, but I really enjoyed that one.

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  10. Sigh. This was my fear - this story would be a very soft, somewhat slow type of novel. I'm used to the quick, fast pace of Cremer's other work (the Nightshade series) and I've never read anything by Levithan.

    I love your review, Jenny. You did a fantastic job explaining the plot and what worked, but I have a feeling this isn't one I'll be grabbing anytime soon. Maybe once my TBR is a bit more manageable.

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    1. Soft is definitely a good way to describe this one Hannah! It has that lulling quality to it, nothing happens too quickly (except for the love part - boo). I very much enjoyed this one, I just had higher hopes for it you know?

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  11. Hmm. I do want to read a book by David Levithan, but it sounds like perhaps this isn't the book to start with. I don't think I could deal with a non-happy ending. (Unless the entire book set it up and made it feel as though it was the only way; it doesn't sound like that happened here?)

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    1. I wouldn't say it's non-happy necessarily, more unsettled if that makes sense. Like there could be another book or there could not, but the ending is hopeful, just not really definitive. I don't know if I'm explaining it that well, it's hard without giving away what happens:)

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  12. I feel the same way about this book. On one hand, I loved Laurie (best literary brother ever!!) and the overall premise of the book, but their relationship fell flat for me; plus, it was way more "witchy" than I thought it was going to be. I like my endings all wrapped up neatly too. I wonder if there is going to be a sequel? Great review, Jenny!

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  13. This is such a beautiful review, Jenny. I, for one, actually like unanswered questions in books. I don't like things to be all wrapped up nicely, but if it feels a bit unfinished, I'd probably be disappointed.

    Either way...fantastic review, as per usual. You sure do have a knack for these!

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  14. It's so disappointing when a book that starts off great takes a turn for the worse. =/ I'm definitely still planning to read it, but it's nice to have a heads-up beforehand, not to get too attached to the greatness of the first chapters. Plus I'm pretty excited to read about Laurie; from everything I've heard he sounds like he's worth toughing through the less-great parts of the book. Beautiful review :)

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  16. Ah, yes, LEvithan and I just don't mix well. I think you described his style well - nebulous, and it's what bothered me in Every Day and what would most likely bother me here.
    I actually promised myself I'd stop trying to like his books after Every Day, but knowing that you weren't crazy about this one makes my job a whole lot easier.

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  17. While I do love my HEA's, I know David Levithan can sell the pants off a not so HEA, so I'm hopeful that I'll still enjoy a more realistic ending. It's a shame about the instalove though. I'd hoped for a slower, more developed relationship, especially since their main connection comes from one of them being the only tenable option for the other (Shatter Me style). This is such a beautiful, thoughtful review, Jenny! Thanks for your honesty. :-)

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  18. I love the sound of the ending of this book, but have unfortunately seen quite a few negative reviews of this one. It sounds like something I'd like, but I'll probably try a few different Levithan novels first.

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  19. You know when I heard this one was written by Cramer, I was cautious. Not that I don't like the worlds she creates, but those endings! Oy! It looks like I was right. I also don't like insta-love. In fact I hate it more than the triangle! I do think I want to try this series, but I'm going to wait a while until more of the books are out. I'm not liking all the things not being wrapped up. Still need to read a Levithan book... but I don't think I'll start with this one.

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  20. I wondered when you said you had an issue because you and I so often agree, and I totally forgot you don't like open endings..they do not bother me, in fact sometimes I actually prefer them. This is kind of open enough that they could come back with another book, but it could also play out in my mind. It was like those dang horror movies, where they kill the monster and then at the ending the creepy music starts and you're all like oh crap is he dead or not. Wonderful review Jenny!

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  21. I'm sad it's not wrapped up in the end. :( I like that nice perfect happily ever after.
    This is my next read actually, I think I might start it tonight, hopefully. And I read the first two pages and I'm very intrigued. I can't wait to read more!

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  22. I have this one and I was really looking forward to reading it. Now I'm not so sure I'll even pick it up because is sounds like it's all over the place. I especially don't like the fact that things are not neatly tied up. I don't care for open endings. Lovely review, Jenny. :)

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  23. I might try this one just because it is co-written by David Levithan. I love all his other works & this one being a paranormal is new from him, so I might give it a try. I didn't know he writes paranormal too, I've only read most of his contemporary novels.

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  24. I was so excited for this book, Jenny! (David Levithan, oh, how I love the man!) However, it seems to be a book that people like but don't particularly love. Which is unfortunate, but once again, I'll take your word on this book. Wonderful review!

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  25. I wasn't a fan of Cremer's Nightshade and I haven't read anything but Levithan! But I've heard tons of amazing things about David's books. I think I'll have to pick this one up despite my bad first impression with Cremer's books. Like you, I love a neatly tied ending (preferably with a nice bow on top), so I don't know how I'll deal with the unresolved ending! Nonetheless, I'm glad you enjoyed this book and the cast, Jenny. Wonderful review! :)

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  26. I totally agree with you and I think I'll have to rate Invisibility 3,5 stars, too. This story was pleasant to read, but a few things were left unsolved (probably to leave room for a sequel?). As always, great review!

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  27. This is disappointing considering it's David Levithan. I've never read Andrea Cremer. But then David Levithan can't always be perfect can he?? I'm glad to read your review before my copy shipped. I canceled mine. I was iffy on it anyway and there were a few more I wanted but I'm trying to not buy so much. It isn't going that well :) You and your reviews!

    Heather

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  28. I like the sound of Laurie but it's too bad the romance is an insta-love. I also don't like that a lot of things are left unresolved, especially as I believe this is a standalone. I was already hesitant about reading this one and your review has me kind of solidifying that stance.

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  29. This sounds like it could be pretty good, but the unresolved issues would definitely bother me. Every time I read something that has to do with invisibility, I can't help but think of Harry Potters' invisibility cloak.

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  30. I don't always need a happily ever after, but I DO need all loose ends to be somewhat resolved. I hate unanswered questions. This sounds a little better than I thought it might though (I seemed to have convinced myself that I would hate it) and Laurie sounds like a character I would love to meet. Awesome review, Jenny!

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  31. Chayse read this book and said he could tell which author wrote which parts. LOL! I don't think I like it as much as I thought I would. Still, I want to give it a try.

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  32. I feel like this may be one to avoid for now... too many other books that I'm DYING to read, you know? I've just heard mixed things about this one pretty consistently. I don't think I've heard from anyone who LOVED it, which is never a good sign. =( It still sounds pretty good, but not one I'll bother with for now.

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  33. Very curious to see how the two authors are going to pull off this premise. It's a bummer that the romance is instant, but I'm curious enough to give it a shot. Still worried about the ending though, hope it's enough to satisfy me.

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  34. Honestly, I haven't read a book by either Andrea C. or David L. (I know, I know) and while it sounds like a good read, I'm not sure if I'll try Invisibility. While your review makes me want to read it really bad, it just doesn't sound like my cup of tea.

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  35. I am not sure about this novel because it sounds a lot like Every Day by Levithan and I did not like that one. For some reason the A in that novel fell flat for me. I am disappointed that there were holes in the development of this story. It did sound very promising. I think I'll skip this one for now.

    Thanks for the review,

    Sara @ Just Another Story

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