Transparent: a good story about breaking free

transparentTitle: Transparent

Author: Natalie Whipple

Summary: In a world where people have mutant powers, courtesy of a drug called Radiasure (originally supposed to protect from radiation), Fiona McClean is invisible, the only such person in the world. Unfortunately, even that won’t protect her from her mob-boss father, who wants to use her for his own ends. When Fiona and her mother run away, Fiona must adjust to ordinary small-town life and make friends while confronting her past as an invisible thug, and leaving it behind.

Six-word summary: A good story about breaking free.

I started reading because it was about an invisible girl on the run from the mob. It seemed interesting.

I kept reading because of the exploration of how Fiona’s past (especially her father) scarred her and how she’s breaking free from that mold and learning what real friends are like, as well as the exploration of what it’s like to grow up invisible, with no one ever being able to see what you look like (Fiona bemoans that people always look past her, or look at her clothes, not at her, because they can’t see her).

8.5 stars out of 10, because it’s a good story, but the science is sketchy. Invisibility should render you blind, as light doesn’t interact with the optic nerves, and a lot of the other ‘mutations’ really don’t make scientific sense, although some are more plausible than others. There’s also a bit too much angst, and the pacing is a bit weird.

I loved the characters, and their interplay. Fiona is a scared, emotionally abused girl, forced to be a thug for her father, who controlled her and her mother through use of his special pheromones, which enslave women to him. She doesn’t know what it’s like outside the mob, and her trust issues form most of the plot, but oh glory does she have reason for them!

Her mother Lauren is also scared and abused, but she’s always trying to get away. She made the wrong choice of who to love (Fiona’s father), when she was young, and has been paying for it ever since. She always looks out for her children first, and her first duty is as a mother.

Then there’s Bea, from Madison, the town Fiona moves to. She’s friendly and open, and is the first person to have motives that are exactly what they seem to be. Due to her ability, she is ostracized, and so she approaches Fiona, another outcast. She teaches Fiona the important lesson that not everybody is out to get her.

Jonas O’Conell, Fiona’s father, leads a Syndicate (read: mafia), and is an utter control freak. Although he isn’t much seen, he casts his shadow over every page, and he is the one who must be overcome at the end. He is arrogant in his power, and his effects on everyone’s heads are hard to get over.

Miles, Fiona’s brother, is easy-going and friendly. As his power (scent imitation) isn’t very useful to a mob boss, he is ignored, but he’s more dangerous than he appears. One should never underestimate the ability to make easy friends with anyone.

Brady, a relative of Bea (I think), is a nice guy who has to hold back with a lot of things due to his super strength (when he was young, his tantrums were more like war zones). He acts as the nice boy-next door and as the “nice” choice in the love triangle.

Seth, Fiona’s math teacher, is a bit of a jerk, but, as with most of his kind, that’s a facade that hides some good reasons for it. He is patient, and helps Fiona with her math, even though she isn’t cooperative.

I didn’t really hate anything, but I was annoyed by Fiona’s continuing refusal to trust anyone. I understand why she’s that way, but it’s still annoying. A little pet peeve of mine is the misuse of science, and mutations do not work that way.

I couldn’t get enough of Miles. That guy is awesome!

If Fiona was in a high school yearbook, she’d be voted most likely to die a virgin, due to issues with trust, her invisibility, and the fact that she’s the child of the boss of a Syndicate, making her hated by association.

On a deserted island, Fiona would probably start doing whatever she could to ensure survival (you know, find food, build a shelter, that sort of thing). She’s a self-sufficient person.

Anything else: It’s sort of a blend of The Godfather and X-Men.

By Thea, 16, Douglass-Truth – Teen Volunteer

DTH

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