Visibility by Sarah Neufeld

Synopsis:
When introverted teen Natalie discovers that she has inherited her mother’s gift for invisibility, she’s caught between her desire to use her powers for good and her fears that her mother will find out.

Review:
Visibility was written when Sarah Neufeld was only 19, and it’s an impressive debut. She’s crafted a fresh take on the superhero origin story, thanks to her nuanced portrayal of Natalie, who is both brave and insecure and therefore utterly relatable.

Natalie’s mother Jadyn is the only known invisible person in the world, and Natalie’s always assumed that she didn’t inherit her mother’s talent. But when she comes across some classmates bent on playing a practical joke, suddenly Natalie “snaps” into invisibility, and her life is irrevocably changed. She’s never had an easy relationship with her mother, and she’s afraid of what Jadyn will do if she learns what Natalie can do. Additionally, the police discover what she can do and recruit her to fight drug traffickers, so she’s sneaking out under the nose of her watchful, kind bodyguard.

Needless to say, quite a bit of action ensues, but the accompanying adolescent angst is far from typical. Natalie isn’t a whiner, and she’s not too cool for school. She’s a girl in over her head and realizing that it’s time for her to leave childhood behind. It’s great stuff.

The book is illustrated by D. Meister and do a good job of bringing Natalie’s invisible world to life. One of the great imaginative components of the book is the way the world changes when Natalie snaps, but the book’s one weakness is that Neufeld’s prose isn’t always up to the task of bringing it to life. I didn’t mind, however, since this book is meant to have a graphic element. I’m not a big reader of graphic novels but I quite enjoyed this one.

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