Review: Invisible by Marni Bates
Release date: , 2013
Publisher: K-Teen (Kensington)
Series: #2 in the Awkward series
Rating: Super cute, super fluffy, and super funny. Not as funny as Decked With Holly, but with more heart.
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.
My review for Decked With Holly, a companion to Akward, which was the precursor to Invisible.
Note: It's not necessary to read Awkward before reading Invisible (clearly, since I just did that). However, there ARE spoilers for Awkward both in the book and in my review.
Note #2: Awkward was narrated by Mackenzie, whereas Invisible is narrated by Mackenzie's best friend, Jane.
The cover: Eh. This isn't my favorite type of cover. I sometimes like the whole doodling-on-notebook-paper, just-an-average-teen thing (and it especially works since Jane is on the school paper and wants to be a writer), but that picture is so strange to me.
The story: Invisible by Marni Bates was funny, light, and sweet-- everything I was hoping for after howling my way through Decked With Holly,which I compared in my review to a sugary cupcake. I love cupcake books, devoid of sustenance but high of enjoyability. They're just the perfect thing when you need them. This book tells the story of Jane, an every-day girl who gets steamrollered by basically everybody. She's a total pushover who's being ignored by her suddenly famous friends and belittled by her popular sister. While at times it may have been frustrating watching Jane allow people walk all over her, her journey to empowerment was truly a joy to read. The two scenes where she finally sticks it to everybody--while remaining the bigger person-- made me want to thrust my fist in the air.
Basically, Jane decides she's sick of being a pushover. She's going to make herself heard... and it starts with the paper. Of course, nothing goes as planned, and she's partnered agaisnt her will with douchey photographer Scott, who does everything he can to get under her skin and push her out of her comfort zone.
I love how much of this book focused on family relationships and friendships. Bates did an amazing job of underscoring how ignored, pigeonholed, and coddled Jane is by the people who love her, and you totally get why she's sick of it. Did a lot of things strain credulity? Sure. I still don't believe that Scott would be ordered to trail Jane around like that spoiler even on one of Jane's dates? Really? spoiler, but he and Jane had such funny, bantery, Beatrice-and-Benedick chemistry that I didn't care that much. I LOVED watching them snark all over each other. He was at times a complete jerk, but he managed to become an attractive jerk, and it turned out there was a lot more to him. I loved that all the characters ended up having a little depth to them, even Chelsea, who so easily could have been the stereotypical mean girl.
Not reading Awkward first may have hindered me a bit when it came to the characters. Mackenzie, Jane's best friend since elementary school, is the heroine of the first book, and presumably very endearing, but I actively disliked her in this book. She unknowingly treats Jane like crap, and while the resolution to their drama was sweet, I never ended up truly liking her.
But most of all, this book is funny. Jane's voice is a delight, the dialogue is witty, and as usual with Marni Bates, the situations the characters find themselves in are completely, over-the-top hysterical. Realistic? Not remotely. And I knew what the final catastrophe was going to be the second it was set up (which was also kind of fun... I was all DOOM IS COMING JANE but of course she couldn't hear me. When will I finally get the people in the books to listen to me?!). Jane is an easy hero to root for. I mean, what
All in all, this book was a fun read that I finished off in one afternoon. It didn't split my sides the way Decked With Holly did, but then DWH was sillier. Invisible still managed to deal with real life problems like bullying and homophobia and how hard it is to try on different personalities around people who have known you since birth, and already have a preconceived notion of who you are.