Review: Transparent

July 29, 2013 Review 37 ★★★½

Review: Transparent
Transparent by Natalie Whipple
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 350
Release Date: May 21st, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.


TRANSPARENT was a really quick, easy read that has an average entertainment value. On one hand, it keeps you reading to find out more, but lacks a “wow” that really hooks you on the story.

Fiona is invisible, and not like your average, troubled teen-she is completely transparent. Fiona herself has no idea what she looks like. Her father takes advantage of her abilities by sending her on various crime jobs.

The main issue for me here is the world building. Back during the Cold War, people started popping these anti-radiation pills that had side effects of giving them mutations. I felt like the Natalie Whippleparanormal side of this was struggling with the other side of this book and that was the contemporary romance. I wish it had been one or other because it didn’t seem like there was enough of the world building/crimes going on to really back up the main plot.

The romance is very cute, Fiona thinks no one could ever like her because no one can see her, but she has not met anyone that truly cared for her, not just her ability. However, I’m not sure I liked the twist that involves the love interest (Spoiler, highlight here:) being able to see her like a regular person (end spoiler) because it ruins the message that looks are not that important.

Fiona was frustrating at times, she was a bit wrapped up in material things and I didn’t always agree with her actions. But I did feel for her, and pitied how hard her life must have been with no one wanting to get to know her or being able to understand her.

One thing I was so happy to see was that Whipple never forgot that Fiona was invisible. She never slipped and said something about Fiona’s appearance and the other characters obviously had a hard time speaking into her eyes, etc. I have read books where the author seems to forget that the book takes place underwater or something so it was nice that the writing stays true to the story here.

If you liked this review and found it helpful, please vote so on Amazon here: Transparent

Rating Report
Overall: 3.4

37 Responses to “Review: Transparent”

  1. Tanja

    I was so dying to read this one before it came out and then for some reason it stopped. I completely forgot about it but well I see I didn’t miss much. It does sound like a nice a quick read but I’m not sure I’m in the mood for books with “wow” moments, as I have plenty of them. Great review :)
    Tanja recently posted…Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

    • Alise

      Same, I often forget about books like that too. I hope you enjoy it if you ever get around to reading it :) Thank you!

  2. Andreea

    Too bad it wasn’t better. Although the summary does sound intriguing.

    Hope your next read will be better!


  3. Aa'Ishah

    I haven’t heard the best things about this one, which is a shame considering it has an interesting premise. At least here the author kept in mind her character, and Fiona was someone you could sympathise with to an extent despite her faults. I’ll keep this in mind for when I just want something simple and not necessarily something to blow me away. Lovely review, Alise. :)
    Aa’Ishah recently posted…Review: This Song Will Save Your Life

    • Alise

      Yeah, it’s kind of like a middle grade read in the way that it is entertaining but doesn’t necessarily stick with you. Thank you :)

  4. Giselle

    Great review! I’ve seen mixed opinions on this one so that makes me even more curious about it. I love that there’s no slip in regards to her invisibility bc that would have annoyed me immensely. Too bad about the lack of solid world building though it could have turned this good read into something more memorable. Still sounds like an entertaining book. Glad you liked it! :)

    • Alise

      It bothers me to no end when an author slips like that, especially with something so major. Yeah, the world building had great potential but wasn’t fleshed out. I would love to hear your thoughts on it if you ever decide to read it!

  5. Becca @ Nawanda Files

    I totally agree about Transparent lacking the “wow” factor. I gave it 3 stars for that reason. It was just okay for me, kind of forgettable, but I agree that it was nice that Whipple kept reminding us that she was invisible. I’d definitely read something else that she wrote, this one was kind of “young” YA for me. Great review, Alise :D
    Becca @ Nawanda Files recently posted…ARC Review: Find Me by Romily Bernard

    • Alise

      Forgettable, yep, exactly! Yeah, I liked those little reminders. I was thinking that too, it would be better for a younger audience. Thanks :D

  6. Christina @ Christina Reads YA

    Ooh, I don’t know if it’s just my browser or not, but the spoiler isn’t highlighted for me? But I’d already read this one, and I definitely agree about the romance, and what you said about the world-building v. contemporary aspects. It wasn’t just the pills that bothered me but the everyday exploration of why Fiona was invisible and how little she seemed to do with her ability, despite her father’s control (I’m a little surprised he didn’t make her do the thing at the beginning, his threat, that is, earlier in her life.). But for all my complaints, I think I had the same issue you said above, in our comments: my expectations were a bit too high, too.
    Christina @ Christina Reads YA recently posted…Christina Read: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

    • Alise

      LOL, it wasn’t just you-thank you for pointing that out. Fixed! Yeah, I would have loved to see more information about her invisibility as well. Especially the Radiasure and how that worked. Right? I would have done so much more if I were invisible. I also have Invisibility by Andrea Cremer out from the library and am anxious to compare the two. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Alise

      Yeah, it definitely focuses more on the negatives than the positives. I will rethink my answer when anyone asks what I wish my superpower would be :)

  7. Romi Foster

    I heard of this pre-publication, and while I thought it was certainly an interesting premise, it didn’t sound like something I would enjoy enough to go out of my way to read. I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy it more, though I am really interested in your point about the author always making sure the character stayed written as an invisible character- that, I think, would be a fairly hard thing to write, so it’s great she did it consistently.
    Great review!
    Romi Foster recently posted…Second Camp NaNo + Inspiration.

    • Alise

      Yes, the consistency was a huge bonus. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read where the author would forget a fact like that or that the book would, say, take place underwater.

  8. Aman

    I like the second cover so much more than the first, it tells the story at the first glance. I haven’t read this book because I was so confused about the invisibility thing (can anyone see Fiona? How does she interact with others?) and didn’t think I would like it at all, but I now I’m really looking forward to reading it. Great review, Alise :)
    Aman recently posted…Early Review: The Marriage Merger by Jennifer Probst

    • Alise

      I think the second cover explains more but the first is a bit more appealing. If you look super closely you can see the girl dressed in her underwear, which I thought was weird. Well, that’s kind of a spoilery question haha. Short answer, no one can see Fiona at all. Thanks!

    • Alise

      Thank you! It was actually somewhat better than I had expected it to be so it wasn’t too much of a letdown!

  9. Nara

    The premise of this book sounded really good. It’s a bit unfortunate that the author couldn’t quite pull it together… I think I will still give it a read though, because I now kinda want to know what this “twist that involves the love interest” is…
    Nara recently posted…Book Discussion: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

    • Alise

      I would have highlighted the spoiler part, but then again-curiosity killed the cat xD It’s an enjoyable novel, just one that did not live up to its full potential.

  10. Kelley (Another Novel Read)

    I’ve been curious about this book. It seems like books with invisible MCs are popping up more and more in YA these days. I wonder why so many authors (or is it their editors/publishers?) feel the need to throw in romance when it may not be necessary. Sounds like it was still enjoyable, though, which is good!
    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted…Almost Here! (August 2013)

  11. Maida

    I’ll admit from the premise it sounds very interesting and something I would enjoy. Too bad it didn’t work out so well. The world building is an issue, especially in a book where it is much needed in order to better connect with the story and the characters. I think I will pick this up, just to see what I think of it!

    Great review, Alise! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 
    Maida recently posted…Book Blitz: Summer Love by Marysue G. Hobika – Author Interview & Giveaway

    • Alise

      I hope you do, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on it! The world building could have made the book so much more awesome but it wasn’t as fleshed out as it could have been. Thanks :)

    • Alise

      Thank you! I would say it’s an average read. I picked it up because I liked the concept of invisibility so I can’t really blame you!

  12. Daphne

    Awesome review! This one has been on my TBR list, but after your review, I’m not too sure if I want to read it anymore. At the moment, I’m looking for that “Wow” factor that Transparent seems to be lacking. I absolutely love what you did with your blog! The rating report and slideshow especially. xD

    Daphne @ Reading Until Dawn

    • Alise

      Hmm, maybe pick it up when you’re bored then so you won’t have that high of expectations xD Thank you, it’s the amazingness of WordPress :)

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