Thursday, December 20, 2012


Invisible by Carla Buckley
Random House, 12/11/2012
Paperback, 400
ISBN-13: 9780440246053

Growing up, Dana Carlson and her older sister, Julie, are inseparable—Dana the impulsive one, Julie calmer and more nurturing. But then a devastating secret compels Dana to flee from home, not to see or speak to her sister for sixteen years.
When she receives the news that Julie is seriously ill, Dana knows that she must return to their hometown of Black Bear, Minnesota, to try and save her sister. Yet she arrives too late, only to discover that Black Bear has changed, and so have the people in it.
Julie has left behind a shattered teenage daughter, Peyton, and a mystery—what killed Julie may be killing others, too. Why is no one talking about it? Dana struggles to uncover the truth, but no one wants to hear it, including Peyton, who can’t forgive her aunt’s years-long absence. Dana had left to protect her own secrets, but Black Bear has a secret of its own—one that could tear apart Dana’s life, her family, and the whole town.

My Thoughts:
Invisible by Carla Buckley is a mystery that features complex family relationships and a mystery. Dana Carlson's sister, Julie, is dying. When Dana is called by Julie's teenage daughter, Peyton, she hurries back to Black Bear, Minnesota. After being estranged from Julie for 16 years, she arrives too late to say good-bye to her sister. Peyton, who is already emotionally distant from her peers, is understandably suffering and Dana stays after the funeral to try and help her and Julie's husband, Frank. Frank, however, resumes drinking and resents Dana's presence. 
Adding to this already volatile mix is the notebook Julie left behind. She was sure that something caused her illness and it was making others in town sick too. Dana, amid her own regrets and worries, takes on the investigation her sister started, much to the resentment of the whole town.

Invisible  has been favorably compared to novels by Jodi Picoult, which I think is a fair comparison. While there is an overwhelming mystery over the cause of Julie's illness, as well as another mystery in Dana's life, there are also many underlying themes, including regret, redemption, addiction, greed, secrets, government safety regulations, to name a few.
The chapters alternate between Dana's and Peyton's point of view. Peyton's chapters open with her discussing a different marine species, which gives clues to her emotional state. Both Dana and Peyton are well developed characters and you will gain some understanding of Julie through their eyes. Frank was less developed and a bit more formulaic.
The plot for the main mystery and the family drama, although somewhat predictable, is engaging and kept my attention. In some ways the mystery involving Dan's demolition work felt like an unnecessary addition to the novel, although bringing up her issues with her partners made sense. Even though circumstances had me reading this novel over a much longer period of time than I would normally take, I enjoyed the pacing of the plot and never felt as if I should just rush to the end.
Highly Recommended

Quotes:    Read an Excerpt
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Random House and Netgalley for review purposes.

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