NOBODY by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
YA Science Fiction
400 pages, hardcover
Available January 22, 2013
Review copy provided by publicist
There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away.
That’s why they make the perfect assassins.
The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.
Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.
Wow. I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. On one hand, it was action-packed, amazingly creative, and interesting. On the other, it was just weird and hard to connect with.
Let's start with Claire. She's your average sixteen-year-old girl, feeling completely invisible and not in control of her life. Except, she's more than just average. Her parents barely remember she exists, she has no friends, hell, she can't even get a towel at the pool because the pool boy doesn't see her. She's invisible. She's nobody.
But she's not alone.
Nix doesn't know anything but The Society and the institute where they raised him and trained him to be a cold-blooded killer. He believes he's doing good, killing Nulls who would harm without mercy with their sociopathic tendencies and powers to convince people to love them and do anything for them. Then they tell him to kill Claire. And, for the first time in his life, he disobeys and begins to question his orders.
There's an instant connection between Nix and Claire, a spark (blurg, insta-love...though I can understand it in this case) because, for once in their lives, someone can actually *see* them. They're fascinated by it and by the power of their connection. Together, they can walk through walls, stop time and bring down The Society.
I actually felt really bad for both Nix and Claire. To be told you're no one, that you don't matter, to feel like you don't matter, that no one can see you or cares about you. We've all been there, at one time or another. But we get over it, realizing that we do matter, that we're not invisible. Not so with either Nix or Claire. They've both been Nobodies since birth. The people around them have to leave alarms and sticky notes to remember their existence. It's pretty heartbreaking.
But, because they're "nobody", they're hard for a reader to connect with. Claire is a shell of a girl, with her only real interest being the books she escapes into. Nix is a trained killer, focused only on the job. There's very little dimension to them, very little depth. While their personal connection is understandable, considering they've never had anyone actually fully notice them, much less look into their eyes, my connection was...tenuous.
As the pair floats through the world, avoiding The Sensors who are tracking them, investigating the true purpose of The Society and their intentions, and connecting (yes, in many different ways, though the scene always fades to black as soon as any hint of canoodling might occur). The science behind the Nobodies, Nulls, Normals and Sensors is so fascinating -- it all revolves around energy. Nulls have too much while Nobodies, too little.
I feel like this is a very ramble-y review because my feelings about this book are ramble-y. It's definitely intriguing enough that I didn't want to put it down (sadly, it was a school day and I have to get up at hell-o clock) but there were times within the story that I scratched my head and wondered, "WTF?"
Anyway, I'll be donating this book to my high school's library, as I'm sure many students will love both the action-filled story as well as the strong romantic plotline.
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