Book Review: Invisibility

Image via Goodreads

Rating: 3 out of 5

Oh, how I wanted to enjoy this book more! Invisibility, a collaboration between David Levithan (Every Day, The Lover’s Dictionary) and Andrea Cremer (The Nightshade series), was published in 2013 and seemed to be every YA lover’s dream. But while the story started out great, it only got more disappointing with each page.

The book’s structure is certainly unique. The authors alternate chapters between two teenagers living in Manhattan: Levithan writing from the POV of Stephen, a boy cursed into invisibility by his grandfather, and Cremer writing as Elizabeth, his new next-door neighbor who discovers that she is the only one who can see him…and possibly cure him.

This sounded similar to Every Day, since it also features a paranormal romance, but I quickly found out that it’s subpar to Levithan’s solo story. In that book, the protagonist known simply as “A” wakes up in a new person’s body every day (hence the title), and the reader is given almost no reason as to why. I appreciated that sentiment also seen in Kafka’s Metamorphosis, because the audience must take a leap of faith and begin in media res.

However, Invisibility attempts to explain Stephen’s condition with poorly designed world creation in which magical curse-casters and spell-seekers exist in constant tension with one another–the former like Stephen’s grandfather whose nature it is to spread cruelty, and the latter like Elizabeth who have the power to keep them in check.

There are so many plot holes in this story that it would take forever to list them, but the most egregious is that there is no explanation as to why Elizabeth is the only spell-seeker who can see Stephen when there are others who can’t. The rules of this magical universe are haphazard, and the overall logic is just abysmal.

In addition, this novel suffers from the common YA mistake of ‘insta-love,’ given that Stephen and Elizabeth are willing to die for each other only a few weeks after meeting. I won’t give the ending away, but even a hopeless romantic like myself has a hard time buying that their relationship could possibly have a ‘happily ever after.’

Nope, not even if I’m looking at you, Ryan Gosling!

As much as the book is entertaining and keeps you turning pages, I find it a rushed, terribly thought-out tale that reads more like mediocre fan-fiction than a legitimate novel. I rated this 3 stars because Levithan’s writing prowess is undeniable, but it far outshines Cremer’s. While I’m happy for her for getting the chance to ride his coattails, I’ll stick to the work of her writing partner in the future.

Audiobook Review: Jinx

Cover of "Jinx"

Image via Amazon

Rating: 2 out of 5

If you’ve been reading Book Club Babe, you already know that I’m a devoted Meg Cabot fan. I may have a whole shelf of her work, but this was the first time that I bought one of her books in audio.

I’m still waiting for Awaken, Cabot’s sequel to Underworld, which will be released this July. So I decided to check out Jinx (2007), one of her few stand-alone novels. Unfortunately, it was aptly named, but it was one big ball of bad luck.

Jinx is titled after the protagonist Jean Honeychurch’s nickname. Terrible things seem to keep happening to this 16-year-old, so she runs away from her home in rural Iowa to live with her aunt, uncle, and three cousins in New York City.

One of those cousins, Tory, immediately becomes Jean’s rival when Jean catches the eye of her crush, Zack. But what happens when this competition between cousins takes a paranormal turn for the worse?

I could go into more detail, and honestly, I wouldn’t spoil much. What’s the point of keeping part of the plot a secret for the whole first third of the novel, if you already know about it from reading the summary? Talk about anti-climactic!

I also already knew that Cabot has a tendency to be melodramatic, but I figured what should I expect when she’s writing about teenagers? Well, even young adult fiction has to have standards.

I kept getting horrible vibes a la Fifty Shades of Grey: whether it’s E.L. James droning on about her “inner goddess” or Meg Cabot harping about “the knot in my stomach,” authors need to tone down the obnoxious metaphors!

You know why the green light is such a powerful symbol in The Great Gatsby? Because Fitzgerald doesn’t talk about it every five sentences! I understand that Jean is a nervous outcast, but I wanted to drive into oncoming traffic every time she described her stomach knot. I get it, you’re scared! Stop wasting my time with over-used clichés and move on!

I empathized most with Zack, who seemed completely fed up with all this petty cat-fighting. Although cat-fighting might be inaccurate, since Jean is the typical girl oblivious that her love is actually not unrequited after all. Yawn.

Maybe I’m just too old for high school drama. It’s easy to tell a fictional character to snap out of it and get some confidence, but I know that it’s easier said than done in real life. I wish that I could go back and tell my 16-year-old self to stop worrying what the “popular” kids think about you, because those bullies weren’t worth the brain space anyway.

I’m just going to chalk Jinx up to being an older novel that’s not representative of Cabot’s level of work. I’m also skeptical of trying audio versions of her books in the future, since I may be more accepting of teenage immaturity in print. Hopefully, Awaken will redeem my previously high opinion of this queen of teen fiction! Fingers crossed!

Book Review: Truly, Madly

Rating: 4 out of 5

I’m slowly joining the 21st-century book-loving world, as I just joined Goodreads! I love how I can chart my reading progress, rate and review books, and connect with fellow bibliophiles! My goal on this social network is to somehow recall every book I’ve ever read and rate it–I’m at over 230 books, so I’m sure I have a long way to go! You can add me by clicking this link.

Now back to my review. Truly, Madly was one of the two novels that I bought while I was in Japan, and I read the majority of it on my ten-hour-long flight back home. It was published in 2010 and written by Heather Webber.

I gravitated toward Truly, Madly in the bookstore, because I’m a sucker for cutesy covers. The curlier the font, the happier the ending, right?

The romance novel follows Lucy Valentine, who reluctantly takes over her father’s match-making business after he’s caught in an extramarital affair. The catch is that every Valentine in her family matches people based on the auras that they can secretly see–well, except for Lucy.

As a teen, Lucy’s supernatural aura-reading powers were zapped away in an electrical surge, only to be replaced by the ability to find lost objects. Just think of your missing item, shake Lucy’s hand, and bam! She’ll know where it is.

This skill comes in handy when she has a vision of a missing wedding ring–on a dead body–immediately embroiling her in a murder case. She asks the assistance of sexy private eye Sean Donahue…and I’m pretty sure you can guess what happens next.

I just hope you weren’t guessing sex, because unfortunately Webber makes the reader wait for the sequels for that. However, that’s not to say there aren’t any steamy moments, because Lucy and Sean have great chemistry. I enjoyed their witty banter and watching them slowly learn to trust one another and fall in love.

Like many romance novels, the mystery plot was a bit clunky and unrealistic, so hopefully the sequels will smooth out the rough patches. Other than that, I was pleasantly surprised by this book, which I bought on a whim. I guess you can judge a book by its cutesy cover!

Now that I’m back home, my blogging should be on schedule now, so check back next week for Masterpiece Monday!