Genres: Science Fiction, YA Paranormal Romance
Published by HarperTeen on May 21, 2013
Reviewed by: Abigail
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.
Pure fun. That's what Natalie Whipple's TRANSPARENT is. Universal themes regarding identity and independence are explored alongside twisty fun supernatural abilities like flight, the protagonist's invisibility, and all the way down to seemingly trivial powers like fear induced stink. More series issues arise thanks to Fiona's crime lord father and 'jobs' he literally charms her into carrying out for him.
The invisibility metaphor is one that has been explored before, especially in relation to those awkward teenage years, but Natalie Whipple's take is fresh and refreshingly devoid of depression laced prose. On the contrary, Fiona is bright and confident in her own skin--even if she can't see it. That's not to say she doesn't deal with insecurity, she just doesn't let it define her. She really doesn't even let her invisibility define her. She demands that anyone who truly cares about her see her for who she is not what she is.
Fiona is a genuinely likable character. Her situation--both being invisible and being forced to work for her father--is immediately easy to empathize with because of the way she reacts to it. She doesn't constantly bemoan how she misses out on things by being invisible or wallow in self-pity, rather she is practical and resourceful and brave in a completely admirable way. And more than one guy notices her.
When so many YA novels default to insta-love after a few paragraphs of holy hotness appraisal of the other's physical attributes, TRANSPARENT eschews that type of romance. Yes, Fiona notices that guys are attractive, but she doesn't define them based on appearance since she won't let anyone define her that way. The result is an organic romance with plenty of realistic missteps and sweet intimate moments. There isn't any info regarding a sequel, but I'd be first in line to read it if one comes along.