Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Teen review: Adult book for teens?

Reviewed by Amy Sepulveda, grade 11

Aimee Bender’s An Invisible Sign of My Own, a fiction novel, is told from the point of view of Mona Gray, a 20-year-old girl obsessed with math and numbers. Readers learn from the start that Mona is very superstitious, which is proven by her tendency to constantly knock on wood when any little thing makes her uneasy. These 242 pages tell the tale of Mona becoming a math teacher for elementary school students and the strange happenings in her classroom and throughout her small town. Her mind is almost always somewhere else, whether it be worrying for her father and his rare, unnameable illness, her second grade class, or the anxiety that drives her life. An Invisible Sign of My Own takes readers through the journey of a troubled young woman just trying to understand the world around her.

Bender’s writing is spectacular in this novel as well as in her others, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and The Girl in the Flammable Skirt. I particularly love her lack of use of quotation marks, which makes you have to read each word carefully and fully understand why everything is said. She also makes it easy to follow, despite there being no quotation marks. I was awestruck by everything in the novel and found it near impossible to put down. It is very hard to find a book quite as interesting as this, and it should be rated a 5/5. An Invisible Sign of My Own is a book I have wanted to read for quite some time, and I regret not picking it up sooner. It is written at about a high school reading level, from grades 9-12, but is not considered young adult, so anyone willing to give it a chance definitely should!

Editor's note: I would call this book a "new adult" read--which is defined as "a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18-25 age bracket," and as "fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult--a sort of 'older YA' or 'new adult.'" It also sounds, from the few pages I read after Amy piqued my interested in it, like it would fall into the category of "magical realism," fiction that "incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction." Or maybe it's just quirky! :-)

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