Every once in a while I read a book and I feel like it was written precisely for me. Don’t get me wrong–I enjoy reading a wide variety of books. But once in a great while I find a book that does all the things I like in a story, and nothing that bothers me. That’s when I really fall in love.
I first picked up Natalie Whipple’s Transparent because it sounded intriguing; it’s the adventures of an invisible girl, whose mob-boss father wants to turn her into the perfect assassin. When he gives her a job she won’t perform, she and her mother flee to a small town in Arizona, but it’s surprisingly difficult to hide when you’re the only invisible girl in the world.
So I figured this would be an exciting adventure story. It would be fun.
And it was fun. But it was also so much more. Natalie ties superhero elements into the kind of emotional journey I’m used to only reading in contemporary novels. Fiona’s dad isn’t just a mob boss–he’s an abuser, and Natalie handles all the nuances of that sort of parental relationship with grace. Fiona has an invisible body, which makes for lots of fun adventure, but also teen awkwardness and self-doubt, making her at once a competent hero and a believable teenager. Oh, and there’s romance, too. With a geeky boy. I really couldn’t believe what a perfect combination all of these elements made, nor how gracefully Natalie wove them all together. She’s so skillful at it, she made it look easy.
I really can’t tell you how much I love this book. So I was super excited to get an advanced copy of Blindsided, which is out today.
It’s better than Transparent. And I don’t say that lightly.
So you should read them both. Right now. Or, if YA isn’t your thing, you should buy copies for the teenage girls in your life. Because these books are made of awesome.
Also, keep an eye on Natalie. She has House of Ivy & Sorrow, a YA fantasy about witches, coming out in just a few months. And then she’s publishing her first indie novel a few months after that. And it’s about Ninjas. Seriously.
Great writer? Check. Fun, fast paced adventure? Check. Slick fantasy elements? Check. Emotional journeys with nuanced character arcs? Check. Prolific? Check.
I’m going to read all Natalie’s books forever, and I think you should, too.