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

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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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