Alice is 16 and she wants a boyfriend. She and her parents live in Seattle. Her best friend is a artsy boy, Jewel, who most people think is gay, but she knows he isn't. They go clothes shopping together, share their artwork with each other, go to indie rock shows, and talk about nearly everything. But Alice isn't interested in Jewel as a boyfriend; she has a crush on Simon, who is a bit of a jock, but he is popular and charming. She is thrilled when he shows interest in her. Unfortunately, it turns out that Jewel gets jealous when Alice starts seeing Simon, and it looks like Alice's friendship with Jewel may be over. So Alice has to work out what is important to her, and whether she is ready to sacrifice her best friend for a boyfriend.
Although the plot is pretty minimal, The Opposite of Invisible gives a nice portrait of a smart and creative Seattle girl. She knows about modern art and is a bit geeky; she and Jewel have secluded themselves from most of the other students, taking a superior attitude toward them. Meeting Simon challenges that attitude, and makes her question her friendship with Jewel. The book also makes downtown Seattle seem like a great place to live, full of interesting places to go.
The reading of the unabridged audiobook by Lara Hirner is good. She starts out seeming a little too cheerful and even ditsy, when the text calls for a cooler, shyer performance, like Claire Danes in her My So Called Life days. However, as Alice starts to question her decisions, Hirner's performance expresses more uncertainty and worry, which makes a good contrast from her earlier self-satisfaction.
Author website: http://www.lizgallagher.com/
© 2008 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York