Book Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

TransparentTitle: Transparent

Author: Natalie Whipple

Published: May 16, 2013

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 352

Source: Copy provided by publisher


High school is hard when you’re invisible.

Fiona McClean hates her family, has had to move to a new school and seems to be completely invisible to the boy she likes. So far so normal, right? But Fiona really is invisible. She doesn’t even know what colour her own hair is.

Born into a world where Cold War anti-radiation pills have caused genetic mutations, Fiona is forced to work for her mind-controlling mobster father as the world’s most effective thief. When her father announces she must become a murdering assassin, Fiona and her telekinetic mother make a break for freedom. Running to a small Arizonian town, Fiona finds that playing at ‘normal life’ with a mother on the edge, a brother she can’t trust, and a boy who drives her crazy is as impossible as escaping her father.

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Transparent is one of my anticipated books this year and I was so giddy to start reading the story when I got a review copy from its awesome UK publisher (Thank you, Hot Key Books!). I sincerely looked forward to exploring its intriguing world.

Enveloped in a unique fusion of contemporary and science fiction, Transparent is a glowing debut novel that opened my eyes to the wonders of the impossible.

I was immediately attracted to its clear, plausible and flawless writing style. Information was not dumped in one chapter, which I really liked because it gives readers time to grasp the concepts, terms and the intricate world itself. The flashbacks are very helpful in knowing the history of certain scientific elements such as mutations and superhuman powers. Not only that, readers will get to view and understand the main character’s past. The sequences of events are very organized, resulting in a smoothly-paced story flow.

Born invisible, Fiona struggles with accepting her identity as well as fitting in with society, particularly at her new school. Fiona’s thoughts are very sincere and insightful which will make readers feel what she goes through internally. Fiona lived in fear and was always running away from complicated situations. As the story progressed, Fiona transitioned into a brave individual. That transformation would not be possible without her friends who made Fiona realize that there are people who care for and believe in her. With that, Fiona saw her worth and learned to embrace her true self.

Fiona’s friends also showed their full support to her in times of trouble and made her feel “normal.” They treated her like an ordinary person regardless of her peculiarity, that of being invisible. It is through them that Fiona experienced the normal teenage life she has long been wishing for.

In addition, I appreciate how the story highlighted the importance of family. Fiona’s close relationship with her brother, Miles, was really admirable. How I wish I have an older brother like Miles! Fiona has a rocky relationship with her mother and oldest brother, Graham, in the beginning of the story. However, everything was straightened out and resolved in the end. I was really pleased, specifically with Graham, when it was revealed that his mean attitude towards Fiona was for a good cause. I will not elaborate on the good cause, for the reason that I don’t want future readers of Transparent to be spoiled of a very significant moment. But I’ll give you this: it was a great “moment of truth” that definitely changed my negative perception of Graham.

Natalie Whipple created characters with unbelievable powers living in believable situations. Having said that, I believe it is the author’s superpower. I am fully amazed by her effortless creativity. Of all the interesting characters in Transparent, I was drawn to Seth the most because of his swoon-worthy charm, not to mention his really cool superpower of seeing through things. He was mean to Fiona at first but then became caring and understanding when they started hanging out.

As time went by, Fiona developed feelings for Seth, who also has feelings for Fiona…since the day he first saw her. Sweet! 🙂 What I love about Seth’s character is that he sees the real Fiona and accepts her despite the bad things she did in the past. Fiona is part of her crime lord father’s syndicate but Seth disregarded that fact. To him she is the only one that matters. And because of Seth, Fiona opened herself to the possibility of love, no matter how scared she was. Isn’t that amazing? Love is truly stronger than fear. 🙂

While the story is considered as science fiction, the contemporary aspect embedded within makes it relatable to everyday life. Transparent is an enlightening, funny and delightful read. I’m certainly looking forward to Blindsided!


4/5 stars


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

  1. This sounds great! I actually like this cover a lot more than the US one which I’ve seen on Goodreads before now. I shall have to look for this in Waterstones this week. Glad you enjoyed this one!

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Blindsided by Natalie Whipple | THE LIFELONG BOOKWORM

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