Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Opposite of Invisible by Liz Gallagher

Alice has always sort of felt invisible. In the background. Not to her best friend Jewel, but to everyone else. She feels like she's sort of cocooned herself with Jewel at the expense of developing other friendships. So when Simon, a popular football player expresses interest in her (not to mention that he's been her secret crush) Alice feels that maybe she's not as invisible as she thought.

This book almost felt diary-like, it wasn't, but Alice is very much telling the story and it feels very up close and revealing. The book mainly deals with Alice's desire to become visible, to make other friends (especially some gals - Jewel is a dude), to reach out and try new things, to move beyond her cocoon with Jewel.

As Alice starts to put out feelers for other people her relationship with her Jewel changes especially when Alice starts dating someone. Someone not Jewel, which even though they weren't boyfriend-girlfriend, it sort of felt like they were a couple. So the dynamics shift and neither is sure where they stand anymore.

This was sort of a quiet novel with quite a bit of depth (and a beautiful cover...). Alice is a level headed and thoughtful narrator. A central theme in the book is that people aren't always what you think they are. Even in high school, well maybe especially in high school, people who you thought were one way often turn out to be another. We see this in her new friend Mandy - a cheerleader who happens to sign up for the same glass blowing class as Alice. And we also see this in the other central characters of Simon and Vanessa.

It was a sweet read that is clean enough to be in middle school libraries, but mature enough to appeal to high school students too.

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