Invisible

Invisible - Carla Buckley Dana Carlsen has made a series of unfortunate decisions in her life. Most of these weren't very well thought out and have resulted in somewhat dire circumstances. The first bad decision she made was a teenager when she ran away from her sister and niece, her only surviving family members, when she was seventeen. A series of rather dead-end jobs and a lack of training resulted in her accepting a business partnership with a somewhat unscrupulous man. Her business is under investigation and there aren't any funds in any account because her partner keeps using business money to bail out his family members overseas. Just when it doesn't seem like things could get any worse she receives a phone call that has her leaving her business and the investigation to return to her sister, Julie, and their hometown. Unfortunately her return is too late for reconciliation with Julie as she has died of acute kidney failure.

Dana finds that much has changed in her hometown. Her boyfriend is now a high school science teacher. The local bad boy has become the largest employer in the town. Her brother-in-law still can't stand her and apparently neither can her niece Peyton. It doesn't help that she hadn't called or returned in almost seventeen years. The death of her beloved sister Julie is just one in a long line of shocks that Dana must face. She knows that she can't make up for her absence but she tries to continue her sister's research into why so many people in such a small town are dealing with kidney failure. But Dana's research may put her family and hometown at risk. Obviously she couldn't save Julie, but can she save others including her niece Peyton before it's too late?

Invisible seems to make reference to many different things within the story. The first reference that comes to mind is Dana's invisibility with her family due to her prolonged absence. She may have had good reasons to disappear but it has taken quite a toll on her loved ones, especially her niece. The second reference may be to the invisible nano particles used in the manufacturing of body lotion. Dana seems to believe that these invisible particles may be the cause of the increased kidney problems in Black Bear but she's having a hard time convincing anyone else of this possibility. And finally "invisible" may refer to Peyton's feelings toward her father and her aunt. Peyton wants to be strong for her father, but she's beginning to feel as if she doesn't count since he's resumed his drinking. She also feels that her aunt has ignored her and her mom for all these years so they obviously don't matter. Invisible seems to be a coming-of-age story for both Dana and Peyton, mixed with family drama, along with a bit of an industrial-environmental mystery. The beginning of Invisible seemed to go a little slow with the constantly changing voices between Peyton and Dana, but I quickly became used to these dual perspectives and finished reading it with few interruptions. If you're looking for a well-written contemporary fiction read this winter, then I heartily recommend Invisible by Carla Buckley.