High school is hard when you're invisible.
Fiona McClean hates her family, has had to move to a new school and seems to be completely invisible to the boy she likes. So far so normal, right? But Fiona really is invisible. She doesn't even know what colour her own hair is.
Born into a world where Cold War anti-radiation pills have caused genetic mutations, Fiona is forced to work for her mind-controlling mobster father as the world's most effective thief. When her father announces she must become a murdering assassin, Fiona and her telekinetic mother make a break for freedom. Running to a small Arizonian town, Fiona finds that playing at 'normal life' with a mother on the edge, a brother she can't trust, and a boy who drives her crazy is as impossible as escaping her father.
Every kid, when asked what super power they would want if they could have one, has said they want to be invisible. What could be better than being able to play tricks on friends, or sneak into the other gender's locker room, or get payback on that bully that has made your life living hell (Sneak into their bathroom and change their shampoo to bright green hair dye? Yes please!). Poor Fiona is invisible, and I'm sure she will tell you that frankly it isn't really all that it's cut out to be.
I started out disliking Fiona as a character, she's savvy and clever, but she also seemed frustratingly bitter and stubborn and those are not traits that I like in my protagonists. It does get easier to like her as the book goes on though, because she actually makes friends and realises that life isn't as bad as she thinks it is. Also, it's kind of understandable that she's bitter and suspicious, since her gangster Dad is exploiting her powers... and he has some kind of crazy compelling power which makes it impossible for her to say no... yeah, I'd be bitter as well. I loved every other character as well, even the ones that we're straight out bad guys (Dad) and the ones that may be straight out bad guys (Graham). Bea, Seth and Brady were all amazing characters that were key in Fiona's transformation.
This book is funny, I loved Whipple's writing - she makes Fiona come to life and really puts the best humour in the best places. I did feel that at times there was a lot of info-dumping and telling-not-showing, but I won't nit-pick over that. As well as that, the world building did seem a bit weak, but once again that didn't bother me to a massive degree.
It's difficult to categorise this book since there are superpowers, but the issues that Fiona deals with have quite a contemporary feel. This is kind of like sci-fi-contempo? Is that a thing? I think this book may have MADE sci-fi-contemporary a thing!
Transparent is a funny, thrilling and marginally romantic read that I would totally recommend to people looking for something a bit lighter. A great book!
Overall Rating: B
Book released 16th May 2013 by Hot Key Books (UK)
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review