Invisibility by Andrea Cremer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of those "darn! I wish I'd read this in paper" books because I'm sure that the differentiation between the voices of Elizabeth/Jo and Stephen would be so much clearer than it was on my Kindle. Anyway...
Such an interesting idea: a boy was cursed before birth to being invisible. He lives with his mother (who has never seen, only held, him) in NYC, not going to school and not really interacting with people. Not going to school. Waiting for the doorman to open the door so he can enter and exit the building. Dad has left, but still pays the bills, which really helps when Mom dies because people assume Dad is still living in the apartment (or at least using it as a pied-a-terre in the city) so there's no worry about Stephen being homeless. And then one day, the new girl-next-door starts talking to him, because she can see him. Has the curse been reversed?
This could only have been set in a city like New York, with food delivery a norm for many residents, and where people really don't pay that much attention to what's going on around them. Using places like Central Park's Ramble and Times Square just made the setting that much more real, and highlighted Stephen's aloneness. His friendship with Elizabeth (or should we call her Jo?) is so sweet at first, then fraught when she learns he's actually invisible to everyone else (including her preternaturally unflappable gay younger brother Laurie). All three become friends, and it didn't feel forced or weird that one was invisible, the other two siblings. Their activities and conversations being so real speak to the talents of the authors.
The cursecaster/spellseeker relationship was interesting, as was Elizabeth's battle with Stephen's curse. By the end, with the curse not lifted, I really was happy that there wasn't a pat "and they all lived happily ever after" summation but... is this a prelude to a sequel? Please, no. This was so good As Is.
ARC provided by publisher.