Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.
I have enjoyed David Levithan’s previous works and so I was excited to read Invisibility his collaboration with Andre Cremer. He takes his readers on a journey that leaves them in awe at the close of the book(s). From magic, to romance to friendship I was completely caught up in the tale and its characters. While I clearly heard Levithan’s voice throughout the novel, I was equally impressed by Cremer and look forward to explore more of her works. Invisibility is a book to be both devoured and savored.
The tale begins when we meet a single mom and her two teenage children as they move into an apartment building in NYC. Recently relocated from Minnesota they are fragile and rebuilding their lives after a vicious hate crime tore their family apart. Laurie is attending summer school, Mom is adjusting to her new job and that leaves Elizabeth to unpack the apartment. While trying to open the door and unload packages she spies Stephen and no one is more surprised that she can see him, then Stephen. Stephen was born invisible; no one not even his mother has ever seen him. The tale that unfolds is filled with romance, danger and acceptance.
The tale is told in dual POV’s going back and forth between chapters giving us an intimate look into the minds of Elizabeth and Stephen. Elizabeth is struggling after her brother’s attack and betrayal from people in her life. She immediately connects with Stephen, and while at first it felt a little like insta-love the romance settled and gained more substance. She is really trying to discover herself or reinvent herself and we see this from simple things like trying to change her name to the way she is drawn to Stephen. While I didn’t always agree with her, I understood what drove her. She has moments of kick-ass-ery which I adored, she can be selfish and in the next moment put others ahead of herself. In a nut-shell she is complicated, and felt fleshed-out and genuine. Stephen is strong, an island unto himself and doesn’t realize how lonely his existence has been until Elizabeth and her world collide with his. A part of him embraces all of it and another wants to keep a bubble around himself and Elizabeth. Their romance was pure, slow, tender, and bittersweet. You cannot help but wish them a happy ending. Laurie is a shining star, an optimist and a survivor. He is there for both of them and I adored this young man. Millie, Saul and Stephen’s grandfather help us understand the curse and magical aspects of the tale and added to the overall suspense.
Invisibility is a tale you want to savor, and the tale flows beautifully. It’s the type of book where you slide right into the world, look up and realize you’ve consumed a hundred or more pages. I did not find myself rushing towards the conclusion and instead basked in the unfolding of the tale. The curse, spellbinders, spellcasters and cursecasters were all fascinating. The authors did an excellent job of providing enough history to make it feel plausible and yet I craved more. I loved the descriptive style used to describe the curses afflicting victims and the way Elizabeth was able to see them. There are intense battles, and scenes which were vividly described and I felt like I was right there in the middle of it all. There were lessons to be learned, questions to be asked and ideas to be pondered as I weaved further into the tale. The ending gives us both resolution and unanswered questions but most of all hope. Another book could easily be created and this tale continued or the author(s) can leave us to create our own idea of happily-ever-after.
For fans of Levithan’s Every Day, Invisibility is a must read. If you are seeking an original paranormal with fleshed-out characters that will make you ponder some of life’s biggest questions then this book is for you. Andrea Creamer is the author of the popular NightShade series and I look forward to exploring more of her works.
Four and half cups of NYC finest coffee out of five
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