Saturday, June 1, 2013

ARC Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
368 Pages

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.

Transparent was honestly not a book that immediately drew my attention. I decided to read it because getting insight into the mafia is always interesting, and I'm a fan of the X-Men movies. After reading this, those are the very last two comparisons I would make toward this novel. There isn't mind-blowing action like that which occurs in X-men, or what we stereotypically believe the mafia is like.

This is the story of a girl named … Holy crap. I forgot her name. Emma? No… Katie?

Two minutes later…

It's Fiona, I looked it up. I don't know how I forgot. My stepmom used to have a dog named Fiona. It was the ugliest thing ever and spit everywhere. How could I forget? We called her Fifi, which is one of book Fiona's nicknames… Hah. But all of this is beside the point. The point is Fiona (the main character of Transparent, not my dog) is invisible. But don't worry. She wears clothes and glasses so you can see her. Or something. Fiona's dad wants to use her to steal money and kill people, so to protect her, Fiona and her mother sneak away in the night. They hide in this tiny town and try to live normally, but there are a lot of obstacles they must overcome to truly be free.

For some reason, as I read, I could not get onboard with the fact that our main character is invisible. Something about the way she speaks made me forget, until she reminded me--which she does… A lot. The world-building and the lack of clarity annoyed me. She's invisible and wears clothes to be seen, but to hide, she doesn't take off her clothes? Alrighty then… The book is also extremely repetitive. There was so much that could've been done with the story, but everything interesting was forgone and instead it was a pretty typical teen romance, with a few atypical details.

The writing was pretty awkward. When I first started the novel, I really enjoyed it! Something about it kept pulling me in and pushing me to keep reading. The unique ideas that Whipple puts together seemed to really work for awhile. But as the novel progressed, the book really went downhill. I just wanted to finish the book and get on with a new book, something I would enjoy. 

The characters were overall pretty unlikable, the main character, especially. Fiona constantly berates her mother, who has been abused, and manipulated by the man she loved for years. There's a line and Fiona crosses it a lot. She's extremely selfish to the point where I just wanted to smack her for her behavior. There's a difference between being cruel and being angry. What makes it worse is by the end, it felt like we'd gotten nowhere. Fiona's character development was seriously lacking. She was the same character by the end that she was in the beginning. Her judgmental attitude never waned. Plus, the way she bounced from one interest to the next made me extremely uncomfortable. (And the fact that they are brothers… Whut.)

I know a lot of people liked it, but I just didn't see the attraction. Even the ending wasn't satisfying, but very abrupt. It felt unfinished. Transparent didn't win me over liked I'd hoped it would.
I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher for my honest opinion and review via Edelweiss.


  1. Yikes! Definitely doesn't sound good if you forget the main character's name! But I understand... I'd forget it, too. I hate redundancies and inconsistency. If you're invisible and you're hiding from other people... why not take off your clothes, indeed? Sounds stupid to me if you do otherwise! Thanks for the review, I may stray clear of this one.

    Faye @ The Social Potato

  2. I was one of the people who liked the book, but I have to agree with the points that you made. I didn't really like Fiona and I just wanted to scream at her all the time.

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

    1. Completely understandable, but I'm glad you were able to enjoy the book when I wasn't! Thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. I have this for review, but I decided to skip it based on reviews. I'm tired of unlikable characters. Especially selfish ones. And especially especially ones whose attention vascillates between brothers. Yuck. And I originally had such high hopes for this book. :(

  4. I enjoyed this one overall, but I definitely agreed with you on the ending it ended too fast and I wanted more from it. Great review!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


Blog design by Imagination Designs using papers from the Santa Monica paper pack by Mally Mac and Me