The Invisible

304p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Oct. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062231925; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062231949.
Gr 9 Up—Anthem Fleet is back in this sequel to The Brokenhearted (HarperCollins, 2013). This time, she is battling The Invisible, a mysterious group that is attacking Bedlam City's elite in an attempt to close the gap between the ultrarich and super poor. In addition to leveling buildings and blowing up dams, The Invisible also cook up drugs in labs and, in a twist reminiscent of Batman's The Joker, they have pasted-on smiles and administer Giggle Gas poison to the population. Anthem's love interest from the first book, Ford, is back as well and fighting crime alongside her. Many family secrets come to light here and, though most issues are resolved, the ending is open-ended enough to suggest a third installment. While the superhero premise is intriguing and Anthem is a strong protagonist, the writing leaves something to be desired. Purple prose is standard, such as Anthem describing a kiss as "a tropical storm. Wet, wild, thunderous, unpredictable," and when a "pastel-colored afternoon" is described as "the middle soft and sweet, the edges of things sharper, a little bit sour." Plot contrivances go way beyond the suspension of disbelief: Ford has powers now, speedboats appear just when our heroes need them, Anthem can tie scout knots because—surprise!—she learned them when she was younger. It's a testament to how often this happens when Kahaney uses words like "somehow," "surprisingly," and "miraculously" as frequently as she does. Purchase only where the first book was popular.—Laura Lutz, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City
Anthem Fleet must hide the abilities of her chimeric (part-hummingbird, part-human) heart, which was transplanted into her in The Brokenhearted. When the Invisible, a vigilante group, begins attacking the wealthy, Anthem must decide between keeping Bedlam City safe and being a normal teenager. Kahaney continues to employ comic-book tropes in this sequel, which is as exciting--and implausible--as its predecessor.

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