Be sure to check out my review of Awkward, a companion book to Invisible.
by Marni Bates
Jane Smith has survived three years of high school without making a single enemy, all by keeping a low profile. Not even her three best friends, Kenzie, Corey and Isobel, can say the same. But with Corey dating the lead singer from ReadySet and Kenzie in a relationship too, being invisible tends to be lonely. But now she's written an article for her school newspaper that has accidentally snagged the attention of some celebrities. Turns out, people get really upset when their innermost secrets are splashed all over the front page. And new her well-ordered life is being blasted to hell, with results that are wildly unexpected.
I received an e-galley of this book in exchange for an honest review
I really enjoyed Marni Bates' first book set at Smith High, Awkward, and was really excited to jump back into this world and hang with its characters in Invisible. And while Invisible didn't wow me as much as its companion, I found it an enjoyable and entertaining read.
Invisible focuses on Jane Smith, one of the BFF's of Awkward's heroine Mackenzie. Mackenzie, her new popular boyfriend Logan, and her and Jane's other BFF, Corey, all play important roles in Invisible, but this book is Jane's time to shine. Quite, reserved, studious Jane is tired of living in Kenzie and Corey's shadows as they remain famous (Kenzie) and date rock-stars (Corey), and after an altercation against a bully and the chance to write a front page story for the school newspaper, Jane just may get her chance to stand out. But writing that front page story means being stuck with photographer Scott. Cute, infuriating, smug Scott. And when a story never meant to be made public is “accidentally” published, Jane gets more recognition than she ever wanted.
What I loved about Marni Bates' writing and storytelling style in Awkward, was how authentic and relatable it was. Bates does a fantastic job of crafting a high school setting that feels incredibly real, which is carried over in Invisible. I really enjoyed immersing myself back into the world of Smith High and all its awkward, funny, cringe-worthy, and been-there-totally-know-how-that-feels moments. The teenage dialogue is often spot-on and rarely feels contrived or forced. Yet, Invisible lacked the fresh, smart humor that Awkward was dripping in. Invisible definitely has its funny moments, but its humor just didn't sparkle or captivate like I hoped it would.
Bates explores some serious topics, like bullying; homophobia; and self-esteem issues, throughout Invisible, but I was disappointed in how these things are, for the most part, glossed over and given very little attention. Bates definitely sends out a positive message about acceptance and tolerance, but I think, overall, the book lacked real depth and was overly cutesy.
I really loved Jane in Awkward and liked her a lot in Invisible. Her shy, logical, always aiming to please and avoid confrontation personality is relatable, and it was fun seeing her break out of her shell throughout Invisible and really come into her own. There were definitely times though when I wanted to reach through the pages, shake her and scream “Stop letting people walk all over you! Stand up for yourself woman!”. Jane's love interest, Scott, was disappointing. He had his sweet moments, but he was mostly an arrogant jerk. One of the characters that surprised me in a good way was mean girl Chelsea. Bates gave Chelsea a lot of depth and development for a mean girl. I loved that, even though she is often bitchy and snobby, I totally get why characters are enamored with her. She isn't just all pretty clothes and a pretty face, and people aren't simply scared of her; she has an addicting charismatic charm, without ever resorting to being cheesy or out of character. I look forward to discovering more about Chelsea in Notable.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Invisible is a cute, fun read with a likable heroine and hip story. I really enjoy Marni Bates' entertaining and fresh writing style and storytelling, and always look forward to her next book. Invisible and its companion, Awkward, would make great summer reads!
Marni Bates still can’t believe she falls in love with fictional characters for a living. Her career began during her freshman year at Lewis & Clark College, when she wrote her autobiography, Marni, for HCI’s Louder Than Words series. By the time she graduated, she was on the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 List and had made her fiction debut with her young adult novel, Awkward.Marni is still adjusting to life in sunny Los Angeles, California. When not writing in front of her air conditioning unit, she can be found rollerblading, bargaining at garage sales, reading romance novels, and watching copious amounts of TV—strictly for artistic inspiration, of course. She loves hearing from readers and hopes that you will visit her at www.marnibates.com.