Author: Natalie Whipple
Rating: 3.8 stars
Release Date & Publisher: 5/21/13 -- Harper Teen
Summary: Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.
An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.
After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.
Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.
Sometimes you can tell right away if a book is the author's debut. I really enjoyed this book, and I think most of my issues with it have to do with the actual character, and not the writing itself or anything. So I look forward to reading more books by this author!
First off, Transparent has a great first sentence to hook you in:
"I nearly died the second I was born." (Transparent ARC, page 1, subject to change)
But after this initial moment-of-cool, honestly I almost put the book down. I'm really selective/picky about books that don't have a clear start, and this one was hard for me to understand for approximately three chapters. Thankfully I stuck around long enough to get my bearings and enjoy the story.
The summary didn't give me a clear idea of what kind of novel this is. Futuristic, dystopian, maybe a contemporary with a twist? Not really. More of an X-Men feel. You should know: many people in Fiona's world have superpowers (I originally thought it was only her) because of some tragic world radiation thing...(it wasn't too clear on the background)...so over generations these random gene superpowers get passed down somehow...just go with it! Sci-fi-alternate-reality-ish.
The science of Fiona's superpower (invisible skin) was well explained and the one aspect I really can't find anything to complain about. Very well thought out, and answered all my questions. Props for that.
I wish the world was explained more, because Fiona's "crime lord" father waaas a little strange. Like, think Mob-era in Las Vegas, but in the future? I'm not sure how to explain it. Maybe if the book was longer, there could be more written about the history/world building. Fiona is on the run from her evil dad since he has this sort of Charmer power that makes people do what he says. And her brother is bad too. Really, there are no clear sides in this book.
Anyway, Fiona is invisible. Literally. Now as much as I tried to, I had a hard time connecting with her. The on-the-run aspect (which is a LOT of the book) sounded wayyy overly dramatic. Maybe I am judging her too harshly, as I've never had a hard life that I needed to escape like she does, but this is just my opinion. She's also super naive and has about zero self-confidence. I felt a lot like this book had a not-so-subtle message that "every teenager feels invisible but you have to be yourself and don't worry about looks!" as well as some parallel to a contemporary broken-home situation...disguised with superpowers. I do not like books with either of these themes, but the overall plot was too lighthearted and had fun moments, I didn't let too much of it bother me.
The supporting characters fell flat with the exception of Brady, and Seth. They were pretty okay, and I was able to empathize with their situations more than anyone else. Also, they were funny and never boring. I thought Fiona's romance was borderline cheesy though, due to her aforementioned naivety and made my eyes roll, just a bit. Maybe recommended for some younger-teen readers, more than older.
I am glad Transparent is a standalone. I read it in a day and it's an easy between-big-books read that you should definitely give a chance!