Wonders of the Invisible World by Peter Barzak, 352pp, RL Teen
This Review Originally Appeared in January of 2019
Wonders of the Invisible World by Chrisopher Barzak
Winner of the 2016 Stonewall Book Award for Young Adult Literature
Purchased Audio Book narrated by Michael Crouch
Plot: Seventeen-year-old Aidan Lockwood is living a quiet, almost invisible existence when his childhood friend, Jarrod Doyle returns to their hometown, Temperance, OH, shaking things up and waking him up. Despite the fact that Aidan doesn't remember him, Jarrod persists, taking Aidan to places that were meaningful to them and slowly clearing the fog, a fog created by his mother, that Aidan has been living in. As Aidan begins to remember his friendship with Jarrod, and that it was more than friendship, he also begins to uncover his connection with the supernatural and his own talents, inherited from his mother. Aidan learns more about untimely deaths of the men in his family, often in the same ravine located on the Lockwood property, he learns about the history of of his family, the curse that was put on them and why. With the unwavering support of Jarrod, Aidan makes discoveries, connections, and ultimately a powerful sacrifice to break the curse.
Why Read/Listen to? Why Buy?: Wonders of the Invisible World is a marvelously crafted, creative supernatural story as well as a quietly powerful love story. Add to this the history of the Lockwood family, as seen through visions that Aidan has when he visits the "World's Shadow," a very cool conceptualization of the supernatural realm. Barzak even makes Lily Dale, NY, a real town known as a center for spiritualists and supernatural activity since the late 1800s, an integral part of the Lockwood family story as well as Aidan's own story. This is the first book I have read with a supernatural storyline that also features gay characters and, while I personally missed the presence of a strong female character (Aidan's secretive, withholding mother and her aunt are female characters with the most page presence, which is not much) it did not affect the story at all.