Genre: alternate history, science fiction
Paperback: 368 Pages
Publication: May 21, 2013 by HarperTeen
Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.
An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.
After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.
Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.
◆ A copy was provided by Harper Collins for review ◆
Transparent is a gem. Rarely does a book have me submerged into its world as deeply as this one did. From start to finish, I lived and breathed with the characters.
Fiona was born into syndicate life. As soon as her father decided she was ready, he began weaning her into the criminal business, from pickpocketing to erasing evidence of his crimes and stealing big things. After finding out his latest plans for her, Fiona knows that she has to get out and runs away with her mom. In light of what she's lived through, it isn't surprising that it takes time for Fiona to open up to people. Any moment, someone might turn her in to her dad or a rival syndicate leader in spite of her pretense that everything is all right with dear old dad.
When she does make friends, she can't choose better. Bea and Brady are two cool, believable people, as are their family members. Fiona couldn't have found a more loyal crowd than she does with them. I especially love Seth. He gets to a bad start with Fiona, which results in a lot of entertaining exchanges. Nevertheless, he means well; he just doesn't know how to express himself. I always supported a relationship between him and Fiona, though she crushes hard on Brady from the start. (Totally understandable. I'd also look more at the sweet guy over who I think is a sarcastic jerk.) The romance is slow to start and comes upon Fiona before she knows it. It's real and cute.
I also love how the story doesn't make a big deal out of superpowers. For that, the minimal world building that we receive suited me just fine. Sure, Fiona is the first invisible baby, but the doctors hand her right over to her parents when they realize they can't cure her. This is because much of the general population has mutations that give them abilities from something as small as a strange hair or eye color to stronger powers like superstrength and telekinesis, stronger powers that syndicate leaders would love to control.
The story does a wonderful job of portrying Fiona's insecurities over her invisibility, what it means to be visible, and how Fiona's invisibility influences her life. I recommend Transparent to those looking for a story that deals with superpowers in a realistic, matter-of-fact way, allowing the characters to take the stage and carry the story.