Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

ImageTitle: Transparent

Author: Natalie Whipple

Publisher: HarperTeen

Published: May 2013

Genre: YA

Source: Kindle (Amazon)

My Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Fiona was born invisible, yet in a world of strange mutations and powers she is the only invisible girl.  Her father heads one of America’s leading syndicates, and so she is brought up in a world of crime, often working alongside her mother.  When they do escape, Fiona is fully expecting to be caught and taken back, but until that happens she decides to appreciate the chance she has at being a normal teenager. At school she is still seen as a freak, but as she starts to let her guard down, she realises there are others who understand and are willing to accept her.

I didn’t know anything about Transparent other than the main character is invisible – I chose it because I used to read Natalie Whipple’s blog long before she got a publishing deal and I wanted to support her.  Transparent wasn’t quite what I was expecting as it is bordering on dystopian YA rather than set in the current world, but that didn’t stop me from racing through the story and desperate to continue reading the series.

Lately I have read too many YA books written in first person, but in Transparent Fiona’s voice is so strong it’s impossible not to feel you’ve lived her life right alongside her.  Not only does Fiona come across as a unique teenager, but most of the other characters are also well-defined and interesting to read about.  Despite many of them having special and unusual powers, they all come across as people I might know/have known at high school. I would say though, many of the adults in this book had so little background shared with the reader that it’s difficult to understand them and their actions. I am hoping those characters are explored further in the next book.

As well as interesting characters, Whipple succeeds in creating an intriguing and unexpected story with what could be predictable scenarios and plot points.  For me, the fact that I was continually wondering what would happen, right alongside the characters, is what made this book such a wonderful read.  My main issue was it felt far too short and I reached the conclusion much earlier than I would have liked. Of course, being the first in a trilogy means there is still more to come and I am sure I will continue reading Whipple’s books.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a clean teenage story with a few twists.  It isn’t quite dystopian, so for those who are unsure of the genre, Transparent is a good choice as it has many of the page-turning qualities of a complete dystopian YA, without having to consider an unimaginable world (even the ‘mutations’ and ‘powers’ are explained and we could imagine it as a very similar society to Western society today).

 

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Teaser Tuesdays (22nd April)

 

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

December 24 – It’s been a very busy day – 72 patients take quite a lot of keeping pace with, added to all the Christmas preparations.  I gave a little tea party and invited two of the MOs to help us fill stockings, so now we have these ready for distribution by the night nurse, and we have large stores of cake, dessert, crackers, mince-pies…so I hope they will be happy.  ~ pp.87 A Nurse At The Front by Edith Appleton

 

So far this has been a fairly hard read, but Edith mentions the small things of beauty and amazement (as above), as well as the horrors she documents of WWI

 

Musing Mondays (21st April)

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Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB at Should be Reading asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

 

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My Musing:

While away I did a lot of reading yet I only completed three books. The fact that I read almost every day and often for a few hours each day somehow seems to get lost when I think of how few books I read. I realise it’s a lot for some people, but for me it is average – yet I spent all that extra time reading! The second book I read ‘Conducts of Life’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is effectively a book of very long essays of philosophical musings in different areas of life. Personally I only found one section really interesting, so the rest of the book felt like I was wading through it. Even though I was spending a lot of time reading it, I went very slowly through it. On the plus side, I learnt quite a few new words.

My musing seems to have got lost in amongst the explanation, but basically I wanted to point out how strange it is that we associate how many books we read with how much we read – regardless whether the books are long or short.  Have you ever got into the trap of feeling like you haven’t read enough (or read a surprising amount) based on how many books you managed to tick off your TBR pile?

 

Away

Just wanted to let you know I won’t have internet for the following 2 weeks. I had originally planned to have some posts scheduled during this time but that hasn’t happened. Hopefully when I get back I will have plenty to share.

Review: The Day After Yesterday by Kelly Cozy

The Day After Yesterday by Kelly Cozy

Title: The Day After Yesterday

Author: Kelly Cozy

Publisher: Smite Publications

Published: March 2012

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Source: Author

My Rating: 3/5

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

 

Struck by grief, depression and guilt, caused by a tragedy to his family, Daniel Whitman struggles to once again find meaning and hope in his life. His overwhelming guilt causes him to leave everyone he knows, along with his music, in the hopes of once again finding hope. What he learns and discovers on his journey changes the rest of his life.

The main thing that struck me while reading this book was how long it was.  I read it via Kindle and just wasn’t prepared for such a long read.  Not only was it long, but it felt as though there were many sections to the book – it continued on long after logical places to end. This makes the book different from any other I’ve read, and to be honest, I found this meant the last few sections of the book felt like it was being dragged on and on when there was no need.

The Day After Yesterday focuses on many intense topics, such as depression, abuse, but also tempers this with themes of friendship and the healing powers of creativity.  Therefore, this isn’t a light read, but rather an extended look at how life can be.

While there are these over-arching themes, the story focuses on the small details and how life-changing and impactful they can be.  To be honest, this is one of the things I liked about this book; however I did feel that many of these were predictable and clichéd.

I am a big believer in the importance of creativity, especially when used for healing. Kelly Cozy has obviously tried to use this within the story, especially musical creativity, unfortunately I felt that in many places the use of creativity is used as a crutch and eclipses the story and the characters, which was disappointing.

The main issue I had with this book was the ending. It felt drawn-out and unnecessary, though feel it could have been added to to create a novella to accompany the book.

The main things I loved about this book was the variety of characters and the way they worked together. All the characters felt like real people with their own histories, and nuances. It was also a heart-warming story of the importance of family and friendship.

I believe anyone looking for a book that focuses on friendship during hardship would enjoy The Day After Yesterday, as well as those who enjoy reading about journeys of self-discovery, even though this is a fictional book.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]