I’d heard about this book a while back, but for some reason I never picked it up, and then to be completely honest, I had forgotten all about it until I heard about the release of the second book in the duology, Unforgivable. Aside from the beautiful cover and the somewhat unmemorable description, Invincible was absolutely amazing. And powerful.
Invincible is compared to The Fault in Our Stars and Go Ask Alice. While I have not read The Fault in Our Stars (yes, I know, what’s wrong with me?), I have read Go Ask Alice multiple times since I was younger and I have always had a soft spot for that book. I can definitely see the similarities between Invincible and Go Ask Alice as well – a young girl starts experimenting with drugs and ends up in a downward spiral into the huge mess that her life has become because of them. So I can only imagine that it probably is on par with The Fault in Our Stars, too.
Anyway, Invincible tells the story of Evie, who is a cancer patient who has been given a terminal diagnosis, and who is trying to spend the remainder of her time as comfortable as she can.
“What do you talk about when one person’s life has stopped and the other’s has kept moving forward?”
Her family is completely exhausted from all the treatments that she has undergone in the past year, since her original diagnosis, and when the cancer came back the second time, it caused some tension between them. Evie’s boyfriend spends all the time he can with her, and has been there with her throughout her entire battle, holding her and making her feel loved. Evie is also friends with some of the other patients in the cancer ward at the hospital, including Stella – a girl who has shown Evie how to live her life with what little time she has left. But in the end, Evie has accepted that she is going to die, and she quits fighting.
“The thing they don’t understand is, this is not life. This is a vague, cruel shadow of life. I am ready even if they aren’t. I am ready to say good-bye.”
And then the unthinkable happens – Evie’s bloodwork comes back and there isn’t a trace of cancer left in her body. She starts getting better, and she goes home – only to be faced with the fact that everyone she knows no longer treats her like a regular girl – but as a girl who battled cancer and had a brush with death. Even her boyfriend treats her as if she’s fragile and sick, and Evie realizes that since she has beaten cancer, no one seems to know what to be like around her.
Evie begins her downward descent into drug addiction with pain pills she receives from the hospital, and then she starts getting high on weed, left to her by her best friend Stella when she passed away. When she meets Marcus, she realizes that he sees her for someone other than a girl who was sick, and so she starts dating him. Together, the two of them drink, get high, and spend lots of time together – and they start to fall in love.
Even though things are completely terrible at home (Evie’s parents know she isn’t the same and have put their foot down with her behavior), she still continues to see Marcus and make destructive decisions that cause her world to become darker.
I really, really loved this book. I was pretty much glued to it from the time I started it until I finished it, because it was so good that I couldn’t put it down. While I honestly didn’t care too much for Evie’s boyfriend (the character kind of seemed a bit on the generic ya boyfriend to me), Evie and Marcus (and even Stella) were so amazingly written that I couldn’t help but fall in love with them. Their characters were so deep and well thought out – completely original and bursting with personality. The way Marcus looked at Evie – with so much love and compassion – was absolutely beautiful. Evie’s problems were gripping and really sad, but her behavior and actions were not forced or fake.
I have a thing for YA fiction that deals with difficult issues, and this one sure does deal with them. It is full of drug use, for starters, and that can really be a trigger for some people. However, the way that it is dealt with is realistic and raw – nothing in this book is sugarcoated the way it is in a lot of other YA books. I really liked that about Invincible. It wasn’t afraid to throw its message out there and be heard.
The cliffhanger at the end was absolutely unfair (so glad I’m reading these books close together or the suspense would be horrible), and you pretty much will have to read the second book once you finish this one.