Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan
Published by Philomel on May 7 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Rating: 1.5/5 stars
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.
There were a lot of things that I should have liked about Invisibility. Unfortunately, it never grew on me like I expected it to. I realised early on that this book was going to take a turn in a direction different from what I was originally expecting (which was more along the lines of a comtemporary YA novel with a twist – being that one of the characters happens to be invisible). For some reason I found myself expecting and hoping for magical realism and what I got was paranormal YA, which isn’t bad just not what I wanted.
Once I adjusted my expectations, I found myself enjoying the idea of a small, hidden world of spellcasters, cursecasters, and spellseekers. Well, to a certain degree. I found that the worldbuilding was severely lacking – there didn’t seem to be many concrete rules when it came to the abilities of casters and seekers, and the ones that did exist struck me as too convenient.
My biggest complaint about Invisibility is its characters. Stephen and Elizabeth leave a lot to be desired. It’s a definite case of insta-love, which I actually understand on Stephen’s part. He’s never met anyone else who can see him, it makes sense for him to fall in love with her. However, I found their romance to be over the top and I quickly got sick of their inner monologues about how much they loved each other and would do anything for the other person. Self-preservation is a thing that exists, even if YA fiction maintains otherwise. Stephen had an edge on Elizabeth simply because of David Levithan’s masterful writing. He was also slightly less focused on his love life (probably because he had slightly bigger fish to fry).
The villain, Maxwell Arbus, is extremely lacking. I hate villains who have no reason behind their villainy. I get that there are people in the world who are simply evil and who enjoy making others suffer. I’m not really interested in reading about those people. In my opinion, a good villain has evil and goodness within them. There is absolutely nothing good about Arbus, and I was bored of him before he was even introduced.
The only characters I really liked were the secondary characters – namely Laurie, Elizabeth’s brother. He most realistic characters in the novel and the only one who rang true to me. I kept waiting for something awful to happen to Laurie (and it nearly does) because he is the token ‘powerless human’ in the story, but he ended up being the strongest character in the bunch. The things that Laurie has been through aren’t about magic or curses – they’re about humanity and bigotry. He strikes a balance between the ‘real’ world and the ‘fantasy’ world.
In the end, I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. I found it rather boring, and though it was a quick read, it seemed to slog on while I was reading it. I felt little attachment to the characters or the world, and was disappointed at the mediocre ending.