Wonders of the Invisible World - YA Review by Sam T

Reader: Sam T.
Age: 16
Title: Wonders of the Invisible World
Author: Christopher Barzak
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: 09/08/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I didn't really connect with any of the characters. Aiden is sort of annoying and too over-the-top-emotional; Jarrod just feels dull. (As with most novels involving over-the-top teen romance or stream-of-consciousness monologues, I tended to skip over a lot of this book). His mother deceived him for his whole life, and his brother is never really in the picture. The only person I barely felt a connection to was his dad, a laconic but goodhearted man, and he died halfway through.
     The story seems to have little coherence and almost no stakes. Considering that, as the back of the book says, death is inevitable, it's sorta pointless reading about some harbinger of death that can't really be stopped very well. It feels less like an interface between author and reader and more like some senior's emotional monologue about his half-baked, semi-spiritualistic ideas about life and death. Or something. I'm not entirely sure what the author is trying to say. 
     We readers are not active in the story; we're just stuck on the slow amusement park ride based off of it.
     World-building was not great. I felt lost at times. It would have been an interesting, fascinating premise for a world, but I wish that it was written better and went more into the backstory of the world itself. I didn't understand half of what any of the characters were talking about. Like Aiden Lockwood, I felt lost and confused by this strange world that was never really fully explained.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is only really memorable due to the difficult time that I had reading it. I just eventually got tired of being confused. I didn't really see much of  a story, and the romance really distracted from the main theme of the book, if there was one at all. It's just a weird, mushy emotion-filled, thrill-less story with little coherence or consistency.
Cover: It didn't really interest me at all, and I don't really know what it had to do with the content. The tree painting was really pretty, but that's about all that it's got going for it.
Age Range: 14 through 15
Quality: 2Q - Needs more work
Popularity: 2P - Only for special interest
Additional Comments: I was also pretty confused by the bizarre use of the word "story" throughout the second half of the book. I don't understand this concept at all, and especially not in the already-cluttered universe of the book.
     There's also a strange quote from Cotton Mather (yes, the semi-horrible guy who essentially caused and supported the Salem Witch Trials) at the beginning of the book from Mather's book that shares the same title that seems to have been thrown in there randomly. I don't understand its significance, and I don't really care to know.
     This book might only appeal to fans of ontological, existential LGBT psychic supernatural teen best-friend road-trip heavily-philosophical tomes.

tags: supernatural / romance / LGBT / ya lit

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