Book/Author: Transparent by Natalie Whipple Publisher: HarperTeen Date: May 2013 Pages: 350 Book Source: Purchased
Transparent’s Fiona McClean could be a superhero. She has a mutation that allows her to become invisible. But her father, a Las Vegas crime lord, forces her to use her power for evil. Since she was five, she’s been stealing cars, robbing banks, and spying on people.
Fiona’s had enough, so she escapes to a small town far from her father’s reach. Happiness is hard to find surrounded by a mother she hates, a brother she can’t trust, and a guy at school she can’t stand, but Fiona manages to make some friends. And when her father finally tracks her down, Fiona discovers how far she’ll go to protect everyone she’s come to love.
So Fiona’s invisible. Completely invisible. Not only when she wants to be, but all the time. As you can imagine, that makes life difficult. No one has ever even looked her in the eyes, because well, no one can see them. To help make up for it, she dresses herself in a killer wardrobe so that people will even know she’s there.
But a major downside of being invisible is being used by your mob boss dad. Fiona’s stuck in the position of being forced to lie and steal for the mob. So when she and her mom escape to a small town, she’s really not even sure how to make friends, since she doesn’t know who she can trust and well, she’s never had a friend before.
Fans of Holly Black’s Curse Workers series may feel some similarities here. I was struck when I started reading it about the same people born with powers and working for the mob kind of idea. Not to say it’s the same, but it definitely struck a few similarities for me. And that’s not a bad thing. I absolutely loved the Curse Workers series. And I did like Transparent. Fiona is tough. You definitely get sucked into her story and this was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. It was an easy read, and seemed like it was aimed at the lower age range of the YA spectrum.
Some of the twists didn’t really end up being very surprising for me. I could pretty much see where it was going pretty early in. But it is definitely well written and a great premise. I loved the characters and the interactions between them. I would have loved to see some more development into the backstory of the world and the mutations though. It was such a cool idea and I felt like we didn’t really get a whole lot of explanation about how it happened, other than a brief intro.
Overall though, a great debut from a really promising author!