screenshot96 Carla Buckley’s Invisible is the first of my 2013 must-reads. From the first page, I had a hard time putting it down. Buckley gives us two compelling stories. First is a fractured family dealing with secrets long buried. Second is an epidemic of kidney disease in a small town in Minnesota. The two stories converge in the character of Dana Carlson.

Invisible was certainly fast paced, exploring not only Dana’s past but also possible chemical threats. There was enough plausibility to the nanotechnology angle that I found myself googling it just to see what is out there about the subject. I liked Dana, and I especially liked her niece, Peyton. Peyton felt like normal teenager to me, not someone drawn to a dysfunctional or perfect extreme.  Buckley’s descriptions of oceanic life as metaphors for Peyton and her life were especially well done, and somewhat educational.

It’s hard to say what I liked so much about the book without giving away key plot points, so apologies for lack of a lot of detail here. Suffice it to say the story was intriguing and kept me interested from start to finish.

However, when Invisible ended my reaction was, “Wait. What? Is that it? It’s over?”  It’s not that the ending is wholly unsatisfying, it is that it feels unfinished to me.  It may be that Buckley’s intention was to leave so much open ended- the book does end on a hopeful note, after all- but it felt incomplete to me.  Dana’s job was a major plot point at the beginning and Buckley spends time talking about Dana’s relationship and dissatisfaction with her business partner, but then doesn’t really close out the issue.    We also don’t get to see closure with many of the relationships from Dana’s past that Buckley introduces.

Still, the story was compelling enough to me that Invisible overcomes the shortcomings of the ending, and I have already been recommending this book to friends.  This is Buckley’s second book, and I’ve already ordered her first one to add to my reading queue.