Wednesday, 26 November 2014

'Invisibility' by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

*This review will contain spoilers!*

I have been so excited about reading this book for such a long time - I haven't read an Andrea Cremer novel, but I own them all and they sound absolutely amazing, while David Levithan is one of my favourite authors just based off of the back of the couple of stories I've read. But now I'm sat here and I am just overwhelmed with the disappointment that I'm feeling.
'Invisibility' tells the story of Stephen, a boy who is invisible, and Elizabeth, the only person in the world who has ever been able to see him. We start off the novel on the day that Elizabeth and her family - comprised of a workaholic mother and Laurie, her gay little brother - first move into their apartment complex, and we continue on from there. Based off of previous David Levithan novels I've read, I was expecting it to focus more on the relationship and the romance side of the novel, but oh no, from here it went downhill very fast. Don't get me wrong, I was expecting there to be quite a lot of fantasy throughout (I mean jeez, the guy is invisible!) but the entire plot seemed to get quite convoluted quite quickly.
Let me start off by saying the first hundred to one hundred and fifty pages were quite good. Yes, the relationship between Stephen and Elizabeth progressed rather quickly, verging on insta-love, but that was slightly understandable from his point of view because she was the first person in the entire world who had ever given him any attention. He clarifies that she's not the only girl he's ever loved, but come on, if she's the first girl who has ever given him attention I think he'd find it pretty easy to fall in love with her. Elizabeth's response to the entire relationship situation really annoyed me; one minute she'd be stating that she couldn't trust anybody and that she liked to keep her distance from people, the next minute she was claiming to be in love with a boy she'd known for less than a week, but other than that I was enjoying their characters and I was enjoying Stephen's struggle with being invisible. The section when he discusses their lack of intimacy, questioning 'I know we would be careful [...] but if something went wrong would the curse be passed on?' gives us more of a scope on the true spectrum of problems you encounter when you're invisible, but in a book that otherwise seems to be rather open (disclosing what happens to Stephen's clothes and during his digestive process) this just seemed like an easy out from the explanation of what would happen if they did actually have sex. Despite all of the irritation I felt because of the insta-love, the reveal of his condition was well written and was definitely the moment that Laurie took centre stage as the best character for me, but it was from there that it all started going wrong.
The reveal of curses, cursecasters and spellcasters didn't come as that much of a shock, and it was a good way to explain how Stephen became afflicted with his condition, and the back story of his mother and his psychopathic grandfather was very interesting, but then the addition of spellseekers and the sudden reveal that Elizabeth was one, and had been able to see curses for months but just hadn't realised what the hell was going on, seemed a bit ridiculous to me. I ended up liking the relationship between Millie the spellseeker and her shield Saul much more than I liked the relationship between the main characters, so I was rather annoyed that the ending of the novel left that relationship completely impossible due to Saul's death. It was nice to get some of their back story, such as the information about Stephen's grandfather having attacked them in the past, but with them obviously highly affectionate with each other it would have been nice to have found out more about whether they had ever been in a relationship or if they had had partners who had died in the past and that was why they weren't so sure about being a couple.
Overall, the book was quite good, but it felt more like a first part than a standalone.Yes, we got quite a lot of resolution towards the end - the little wrapping up of loose ends telling us that Stephen and his father are working on their relationship and Elizabeth's mother has started spending more time at home were cute little additions - but overall the fact that we start the novel with an invisible boy who can only be seen by one girl and we end the novel with an invisible boy who can only be seen by one girl is extremely anti-climactic. I'm not sure I could sit through another book if Andrea and David did decide to make this a duology, but it would be good to at least have some idea of how the curse could be undone, because where we are leaving it it seems that it is impossible to undo and that is final. Throughout, the novel does deal with a lot of good dilemmas: the back story of Laurie being attacked for being gay is heart-wrenching, while Elizabeth's struggle over whether to tell the truth or protect the ones she loved was something that would emanate within all of us in some shape or form, but overall this just didn't really do a lot for me, which is a shame because I had very high hopes. 

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