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All the Invisible Things by Orlagh Collins - Review

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Where did I get it? Netgalley, thank you so much to Bloomsbury Publishing for the opportunity to read this. 

What's it about? Vetty is moving back to London with her dad and sister Arial after living for four years in Somerset. Her mum died four years ago of cancer and the family went to live with Dad's sister Wendy and her girlfriend Fran. At that point, Vetty left behind her friend Pez. She met him when they were young, and they were inseparable, but they haven't had much to do with each other since she moved away so she's nervous about seeing him again. 

She gets back to London and finds a different Pez. His parents are still arguing like always. Pez is secretive and when Vetty meets his friends, she's not impressed with the way he treats a girl he's been seeing. But Vetty also starts to fall for March, this girl, as well. People assume things about Vetty's sexuality but she isn't sure what she feels - she likes both girls and boys. 

She gets a job working in March's mum's cafe, and the two girls begin to get closer. Pez is still going through some stuff, and when he goes with Vetty back to Somerset for her aunts' wedding the two of them talk about some stuff. 

I had a few problems with this book, which was a shame because I wanted to like it more than I did. Firstly, I felt like really nothing happened. It was like one third of the way through the book before anything actually happened - before that Vetty spent a lot of time just thinking about things only. Secondly, I found it daft that in four years Pez had never visited Somerset? It's not exactly the end of the earth to get from London to there, so I just thought this was daft. Thirdly, Vetty is really called Helvetica, and her sister is called Arial, and you can call your characters what you like but why name them after fonts??? The reason given - that Vetty's mum liked the order of fonts - was just daft, and kind of a pointless part of the book? It annoyed me.

Fourthly and perhaps most of all, to say this book is supposed to be about a bisexual girl, it doesn't mention the word "bisexual" until three quarters of the way through. And this isn't something that Vetty wouldn't know, she clearly would. She talks about her sexual feelings and how she likes just a person rather than a gender, but she can't even think she might be bisexual? It felt wrong and I was unimpressed. 

What age range is it for? 13+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, with the above caveat. The lesbian aunts was a nice touch, I liked their wedding and the conversations they had with Vetty. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes Pez is mixed race and I think March is too. It's set in a very diverse London, which is excellent. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No I don't think so. 

Is there any sex stuff? There's masturbation! I really liked this, I thought it was very well done and is good to see in a YA novel. There's mention of watching porn, quite a lot about idealised bodies in pornography, and other discussions of sex. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Maybe weed, nothing else. 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, Vetty's mum died and there's something else that touches on death. 

Are there swear words? Yes 

What criticisms do I have? I think I've outlined them above. I didn't hate it, and your mileage may vary, but I was disappointed 

Would I recommend the book? Kind of, but I think there's better bisexual representation out there 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I've been trying really hard to get to my Netgalley books, and I was looking forward to it. 

What other books is it like? It reminded me of Odd One Out by Nic Stone which I read recently. 

How many stars? Six out of ten. 

All the Invisible Things is published in March 2019. I was given a free electronic copy of the novel but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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