Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Blindsided (Natalie Whipple)

Blindsided (Transparent, #2)
Title: Blindsided
Series: sequel to Transparent
Author: Natalie Whipple
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: January 2, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Alternate Reality Superhero
Rating: Older Teen (language, sensuality, violence, minor torture)
Told: First Person (Fiona), Present Tense
Format: Paperback (early British edition)
Find It On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | TBD | Signed

What price would you pay just to look in a mirror? It's junior year of high school, and Fiona has definitely had enough of being invisible. It's pretty hard to have a normal relationship when the only photos of her and Seth show him kissing thin air. On top of that, old Arizonan gang tensions are threatening to spill over at any minute, which could put them all in serious danger. So when Fiona realizes that she and her friends know something that could change everything, she has to decide whether working with the criminal syndicates is too high a price to finally be seen.

*          *          *

Three Words: Playful and tense.

Series: This is the sequel to Transparent, and you definitely have to read it before Blindsided to know how the characters came to be where they are. You can find my review of Transparent here.

Writing: Not the smoothest read, for some reason, which is unusual from Natalie. But I put the blame on the fact that it's the British edition, as I (as an American with Americanized reading tastes) have yet to have a "smooth read" with a British book. Fiona's first person viewpoint was light and fun though, and it had no trouble keeping my attention.

SettingThe world as we know it, but with one big difference: Radiasure, an anti-radiation pill invented during the Cold War that caused abnormalities down the generations. Now most everyone has some form of mutation, from the minute (pointy ears, smelling like roses) to the extreme (invisibility, telekinesis, flight). Think X-Men, but the mutants are a majority. Blindsided takes place in the fictional town of Madison, Arizona, unassuming but deceptively important.

Story: Where Transparent was a simple and easy story, Blindsided was anything but. It began a little shaky, but by the halfway point the story was engrossing and seriously intense as Fiona scrambled to figure out what was going on and then stop the numerous bad guys. The plot was rife with misdirection, so much so that even I couldn't finger the traitor(s) at any given time. That never happens with me, so I definitely tip my hat to Natalie for a game well played. The plot was also an unending series of "we're making progress! ... oh wait, crap, things just got even worse" that sucked me in like no other story has in a long while and had me reading long past my bedtime.

Characters: Fiona acted pretty stupid at first, making a lot of rookie mistakes, but eventually she got her footing and was pretty awesome. Her insecurity about her condition made her act foolishly at times, but it was hard to begrudge her desperate need to see herself, no matter the cost. Sometimes only getting what we feel we have to have shows us that we didn't need it after all. Seth was a fool, but a fool in love, I guess - and the poor boy had a lot to deal with and quite a lot of family baggage, so he couldn't fully be blamed for his personality. Brady was the gentle giant as always, and Bea the supportive best friend, but the complex plot sadly left them very little screen time. Grouped with The Pack, however, they shone as Fiona's backup. Both of Fiona's brothers returned, and this time they were both on her side...or were they? Dun dun duuuun! (Sorry, I just couldn't resist. ;) We finally get to meet Spud, Miles's mysterious hacker girlfriend, who was a mess of awesome in a tiny but deadly package - adored her. Oh, and Seth and Brady's father finally journeys out of his room, both fortunately and unfortunately for them all.

Romantic Relationship: Fiona and Seth are on rocky ground for most of the book as their personalities and desires clash, but they are a solid couple and struggle to hold together. A messy relationship full of miscommunication and misunderstandings - nothing like normalcy to lend the story an authentic feel.

Conclusion: While it didn't start out the strongest, by the middle I couldn't put it down. Where Transparent was mainly about character with a simple story, Blindsided had a complex plot that Fiona's character development had to fight tooth and nail with for equal screen time. Overall it was very different from Transparent, but still an exciting and entertaining and excellent read.

For Fans Of: The Curseworkers Series by Holly Black

4.5 out of 5 Scribbles


  1. I haven't read Transparent yet, although I've been meaning to get to it for the longest time because it sounds awesome. I thought it was a standalone, so I'm actually really excited to find out that there's a sequel. I love the awesome/quirky/colorful cover!
    I absolutely love the Curseworkers series, so that comparison has totally sold it for me. I'll definitely have to pick up Transparent and Blindsided sometime soon!

    1. It was originally published as a standalone, but the British publisher decided they wanted a sequel - and I'm so very glad they did! Definitely pick up Transparent soon - it's a quick and really fun read.

  2. Interesting. I have Transparent but haven't read it yet. It's crazy how different the covers are. The first one is all dark and ominous and this one looks lighthearted.

    1. This is the "British" cover (there isn't a different "American" cover for Blindsided). The British cover for Transparent is similar to this one, and better expresses the lighter, playful story that Transparent is. I absolutely loved Transparent, so I definitely recommend you get to it soon! It's a really quick and fun read.