A warm, witty, important story about being a young woman today, and what it's like to find a real connection amid all the noise. Perfect for fans of Holly Bourne and Laura Steven's The Exact Opposite of Okay.
With Pez, the days felt endless – cycling, climbing trees, sucking sour sweets till our tongues burned. I’d give anything to be that girl again.
For four years Vetty Lake has been keeping her heart in hiding. Since her mum died and her family moved out of London it’s felt so much safer not to tell people how she really feels. She’s never even told anyone she’s attracted to girls as well as boys.
But now Vetty’s seventeen and coming back to London she’s determined to start living out loud. She’s convinced that reconnecting with her childhood best friend Pez is the key. She was always fearless around him.
But when she sees Pez again, he’s different. Guarded. It’s like their special connection never existed. And suddenly Vetty’s sure he’s been hiding too…
- ISBN10 1408888335
- ISBN13 9781408888339
- Publish Date 7 March 2019
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country GB
- Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Imprint Bloomsbury YA
- Format Paperback
- Pages 368
- Language English
Since the loss of her mother, Helvetica has adapted into a mothering role for younger sister Arial, both sibling names a tribute to their mother's love of fonts. Their father now widowed, moving his young family to the country with his sister and her partner while he continued to work from their small cottage on the family property. Grieving and overwhelmed, Helvetica begun to reinvent herself to assimilate and suppress her sexuality.
Throughout the narrative, Helvetica identifies with an attraction towards males and females, realising she's bisexual and feeling a sense of ownership and belonging. It's a defining moment of her sexual identity and within young adult literature. Our adolescent years is when we are exploring our sense of identity which often includes our sexuality and experiencing Helvetica's feelings of confusion is palpable. Another aspect of Helvetica's sexuality is when she discusses her feelings with her Aunt who identifies as lesbian. When describing her attraction towards females on the eve of their same gender wedding, her Aunt assumes Helvetica is also a lesbian in which she later apologises. It would have been wonderful to have experienced her unconditional support for Helvetica during their conversation, rather than have an adult place labels upon her sexual identity. Although it's presumed to be a moment of compassion and understanding, even camaraderie could be interpreted as bisexual or pansexual erasure which some may find distressing.
Peregrine is an interesting character but incredibly abrasive and narcissistic. After Helvetica moved to Somerset, the phone calls became less frequent, messages left unanswered. A young girl grieving, navigating life without her mother and caring for a younger sibling, when returning to London and her small apartment across from the lavish home he shares with his parents, Peregrine was irritable, resentful and seemingly refusing to accept responsibility for his behaviour. Including his addiction to pornography. Peregrine describes his compulsion as an inadequacy and that he's unable to have a sexual relationship because he feels desensitised, impotent and defective. It's important to emphasise that relationships exist beyond a physical relationship, potentially insensitive to those who identify as asexual.
It was wonderful that female masturbation is explored and as a positive experience. Younger sister Arial is also approaching adolescence and is curious about her body and sexuality and with her father emotionally absent, Helvetica helps Arial to understand about body changes, her period and sexuality. It was a gentle and genuine moment between siblings. The friendship Helvetica and March share is beautiful. March is Peregrine's girlfriend, although he also treats her with an incredible amount of disdain. March confides in Helvetica about her relationship with Peregrine and it was lovely to see their friendship existing independently of Peregrine.
I thoroughly enjoyed Helvetica's journey but felt the narrative was sacrificed for Peregrine's issues that seemingly took precedence, I'm incredibly frustrated in male characters doing the bare minimum. All The Invisible Things is an entertaining and arresting contemporary novel and wonderful coming of age.