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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Invisibility is a fantastical story about the special relationship between an invisible teen boy, Stephen, and Elizabeth, the only person who can see him. Also important in the novel is Elizabeth's brother, Laurie, who was bullied and brutally beaten due to his sexual orientation. The plot involves supernatural curses and a fantastical struggle between good and evil, but underlying all that is a lot of tenderness between young people who crave love and a sense of belonging. Young readers may be disturbed by the cruelty toward Laurie (which happens before the book plot starts) and by the evil and violence (including self-inflicted wounds, fire, murder, and some blood) that pervades the latter third of the book.
What's the story?
Stephen has been literally invisible all his life, but he doesn't know why. When he meets a new neighbor, Elizabeth, and realizes that she can see him, not only does he connect with her in ways he never thought possible, but he also questions more than ever what made him invisible and whether there isn't some way for him to live a normal life. However, as Stephen, Elizabeth, and her brother, Laurie, dig into the source of Stephen's predicament, the teenagers reveal a source of evil that's far more threatening and terrifying than being unseen.
Is it any good?
Invisibility deftly combines David Levithan's brilliant facility at developing tender characters on the edges with Andrea Cremer's thrilling, fantastic worlds written around teens with a mission. The story that results isn't just intensely suspenseful and inventive, but also very emotional and realistic. The plot is rendered all the more exciting by the fact the characters are so caring -- and so wounded.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fact that Invisibility includes both fantastical elements and intensely realistic ones. Do you think the combination of approaches make the book seem more believable -- or less?
How has Stephen's personality been affected by being invisible? How does he change after he meets Elizabeth?
Invisibility explores the fantasy of being literally invisible, like Stephen, and the pain of being someone whom cruel people don't want to see, like Laurie. Read the classic books that also address these ideas: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells.
- Authors: Andrea Cremer, David Levithan
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Penguin Group
- Publication date: May 7, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.