So begins The Opposite of Invisible, an absolute gem of a story.
Alice and Jewel have been best friends since the age of three. They have never had any romantic feelings for one another, always acting more like sister and brother without the sibling rivalry. They are more comfortable with each other than with anyone else in the whole world. Alice feels like she's invisible to everyone except Jewel, and though he's also under the radar at school, she considers Jewel to be "the opposite of invisible" to her.
Then, unexpectedly, Alice gets a boyfriend: Simon, a popular boy at school, her secret crush. Just as unexpectedly, Jewel starts to take notice of Alice in a new way. Along the way, an art class coaxes Alice out of her shell, just a little, just enough, as art gives her something that is hers and hers alone.
The Opposite of Invisible should be given to hopeful young artists along with a sketchpad, a journal, or an art print to inspire them as Picasso's Le Visage de Paix (The Face of Peace) inspires Alice. Le Visage de Paix is "Dove Girl" to Alice; this is the poster on her wall that she talks to and tells her deepest secrets, the things she can't even tell Jewel.
Alice is truly sweet sixteen, full of questions and confusion, with a hint of naivety that is endearing rather than disenchanting. She narrates the story in first person present tense, in a voice that is honest and refreshing. She finds solace in the silence and beauty in the little things.
The Opposite of Invisible is all about friends, first crushes, art and young artists. A quick read, this story will definitely appeal to fans of Cecil Castellucci's books. It will also interest those liked Bringing Up the Bones by Lara M. Zeises but are seeking something lighter, happier.
A notable debut by Liz Gallagher.