Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Genre: Contemporary, Magical Realism, Romance
Published by: Penguin
Rating: It varies, but ★★★.5
When it comes to David Levithan I find that his co-written works are always the best, and Invisibility continues to prove this theory right. I absolutely loved the first 150 pages or so. They were so well written and I was completely absorbed by the characters and the situation. However, I do agree with the majority of the other reviews that this book lost its way in the middle, and began to feel like something completely different. Still, I really liked the magical-realism element, and I think you can explain away the majority of the strangeness to the situation. It’s still worth giving a go, and here’s why!
Stephen is invisible. He always has been. His mother died and his father moved away because he couldn’t deal with the stress and emotional strain of not being able to see his son. Then, Elizabeth moves into the apartment opposite and she can see him. She is the only person who’s ever been able to see him. Together they try and work out why Stephen is the way he is and if there’s anyway they can change him. Of course they fall in love, and Stephen soon realises that the only person who truly understands him is Elizabeth.
I’m not entirely sure how far into how Stephen is invisible and why Elizabeth is the only one that can see him without giving away spoilers, because I think half of the magic of this book was the slow reveal. What I will say though is that the magic made sense. It seemed perfectly reasonable and I was entirely convinced that this could be an AU of our world. My all-time favourite part, however, was when the hows and the whys didn’t even matter. I was fully prepared for this story to just be a cute magical-realism romance about Elizabeth and Stephen trying to work it out and explain it to Elizabeth’s family. It just got too confusing and perhaps even a little carried away with itself when the authors tried to give the book more purpose, which sounds ridiculous, but the high stakes changed the story completely.
In the first 150 pages I thought I would be giving this book five stars. I loved all of the characters. There’s Stephen, who’s soft spoken and super adorable. Eh’s spent all of his life observing other people so his narrative is filled with description and wonderment. I found Elizabeth to be pretty inconsistent, but I really liked her to begin with when she was a little snarky and off-hand. She seemed like a girl who knew what she wanted. She didn’t really have a filter and could be a bit abrasive and I loved how witty her observations where. The final main player is Laurie, Elizabeth’s younger brother. He was beaten at his old school for being gay, so the family (minus their d-bag father) move to New York so Laurie can be safe. Laurie was an extremely serious and silly boy. Sometimes he would come out with the most profound things, and if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s the pep talk. One of my favourite bits was when Elizabeth’s having a bit of a breakdown because Stephen has finally told her he’s invisible and she’s the only one that can see him, and Laurie gives her the verbal version of a slap and encourages her not to be silly and melodramatic and instead to realise how much she loves him and the fact he’s invisible shouldn’t change anything.
So, yes, there’s a little bit of insta-love, but to be perfectly honest, I didn’t find it to be fast paced whatsoever. I fell in love with their love. All of the characters were so refreshing and how they handled the situation to begin with was really admirable. Then, of course, things go off kilter as the book tries to take a more series tone, resembling something like the Caster Chronicles series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It gets a bit strange and you have to take the explanations and long-winded exposition with a pinch of salt. The ending was quite disappointing to, as their efforts didn’t really seem to pay off. I really hope that one day the authors write a sequel because I really didn’t think it should end there. In my head-cannon I have found a way to make everything end the way I want to, though, so I’m not too distressed.
Overall, I really enjoyed the story, and I hope that my albeit vague review (I don’t want to spoil it for you!) has convinced you enough to pick it up! I gave the first part 5 stars, the middle 3 and the ending 2.5.