Review: Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Summary From Goodreads:
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.
Invisibility is filled with just as much awkwardness as the teen romance it contains. Teen romance can be epic, it can be ugly and usually it has bits of everything in between, such is the case here. So let’s break it down just like that, it’s time for the good, the bad and the ugly.
– Levithan. The man can flat out WRITE. While his style does seem to carry over in everything he writes (the set of rules of the invisibility curse is reminiscent of his set of rules in Every Day for that MC) it doesn’t become stale. Stephen is a main character that is easy to get behind and the way Levithan breaks down his world creates complete believability despite him being invisible, no easy task.
– The pacing. While some might argue that the pacing takes a dramatic shift in the second half, I feel that it works well throughout the entire piece and adapts to what is happening in the plot very well. I never felt bored, not during the world building and setup (mostly due again to Levithan’s prowess as a writer) nor during the paranormal takeover of the book (more on that later). The book flows.
– The ending. The last 15-20% or so of the book flew by. It was a rush of paranormal awesome, displays of abilities and the bond that the characters had developed coming to its epic conclusion. It was wonderful and I didn’t want to leave this fascinating world that had been so carefully created. Fantastic.
– Insta-love. Oh insta-love, why must you appear in all of the books I am trying to enjoy? We didn’t even make it into chapters with multiple digits before the characters felt like they were meant for each other. I understand teen love can feel VERY powerful and all consuming, but that doesn’t stop this sort of thing from being irritating. I could understand Stephen feeling this way quickly because of being invisible. You finally find someone who can see you, she’s a girl, and she’s your age? It wouldn’t take much more. Elizabeth has no such reasoning to fall back on, she just falls head over heels for the guy very, very quickly. Insta-love please go away.
– The plot. I don’t know that this deserves to be in “the bad”, but it can’t go in “the good” either so here it lies. For the most part it worked, but there were certain areas that didn’t make sense. It didn’t feel cohesive. Elizabeth’s motives felt contrived and while much of what she did was for Stephen’s sake it didn’t feel genuine. Which leads me to my next point.
– Elizabeth. She was just plain frustrating too many times in the book to like her character. Her humor didn’t work and felt forced. I’ve already touched on her relationship but again, she had no reason to fall so hard so quickly for Stephen, ugh. I don’t think her character had much life to it. She felt robotic even when the paranormal events occurred involving her it didn’t make her character more interesting, just the things that happened around her. Bleh.
– Laurie. I want to make one thing clear, I don’t mean that I didn’t like his character, I thoroughly enjoyed Laurie, especially his sense of humor. However we are quickly made aware that he is gay, which is the motivation for a lot that happens in sections of the book. What we didn’t need was constant reminders and bad attempts at humor (some involving references to a certain wizard in Harry Potter) about how he is gay. It isn’t discussing homosexuality, it isn’t enlightening readers on a variety of subjects that are related in order to either strengthen the storyline, give Laurie purpose or make this book pointed in some way. It’s just bland, and pointless repetition. I’m going to go to the next point before I fall victim to the same thing.
-Styles and Andrea Cremer. Notice how earlier I put Levithan as one of my good points but didn’t say “the writing” in general? This is why. I don’t think that Cremer’s style meshes well with Levithan’s and this is exacerbated by them alternating chapters (Levithan writing Stephen’s, Cremer writing Elizabeth’s). It wasn’t something that they hid, and while Levithan is more than capable of doing this back and forth style (his work with John Green in Will Grayson, Will Grayson is the perfect example of how this can be done beautifully) I don’t know that I can say the same for Cremer. Her writing just didn’t appeal to me nearly as much from a humor standpoint, in her development of Elizabeth’s character or in the paranormal world that comes into focus in the second half of the book. Which leads me to my final and most frustrating point.
– Transitions. Find the nearest wall. Does it look like it would be fun to ram your head into it? That would probably hurt right? Well that’s what it felt like was happening when we moved into the paranormal half of Invisibility. Oh sure, having an invisible boy as a main character means there is a touch of the magical or paranormal from the beginning, but the book reads like a contemporary for the first half of the book. Then BOOM magic, brand new terminology (often corny and, to me at least unoriginal) and a brand new world opened up. Oh and of course don’t forget how one of the main characters happens to be a super special type that is unique to practically the whole world. Perfect. So no, I didn’t enjoy ramming my head through the brick wall that was this transition, and while the world they created WAS interesting it wasn’t believable in certain parts and I felt that it could have been brought about a tad more smoothly. Oh well.
Invisibility had a host of issues for me. I couldn’t ignore the insta-love, the bland second MC or the clashing of styles between the authors. The transition from a mostly contemporary world to one with a paranormal focus was painful. However, the pacing was good, Levithan’s writing and his MC Stephen were very enjoyable, and the world they built was very intriguing. It was a decent read, but the brick wall is too much to overcome in terms of it being a book I could re-read or recommend. Thanks as always for reading and make sure to enter my giveaway for a 10$ Amazon GC in the post below! ^.^
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #98/200