This week I read “Summer in the Invisible City” by Juliana Romano and I got so into it I finished it in three days. I know that sounds crazy for a class at this level, but with a college kid schedule, I considered that quite a feat.
The main character is Sadie, a girl in New York the summer before her senior year of high school. Her and her mom, an educated yoga instructor, have lived in the city since she was born and have an untraditional relationship – closer than most mother-daughters and stronger than friends but less than best friends. Sadie is enrolled in a photography class where she will discover all the secrets the invisible city can hold.
The cover, the subtitle and the informative blurb on the inside cover of the book all anticipate Sadie’s summer with Sam, the unexpected heartthrob she meets on the beach at beginning of summer. I admit that the cover art caught my eye and it is probably the reason I even picked it up, but I do not think there is a love story at the focus of this novel. The common stereotype for Young Adult novels is a classic, girl meets boy, girl loves boy, conflict arises romance and I think the advertisement and enticement for “Summer in the Inviable City” trying to ride these coattails which makes me mad because the story is so much deeper than that. Sadie faces her absent father and winning his approval, all while asking herself why she needs it when she has always had a happy life with her mom. She also finds herself in situations placing her life-long best friend up against the cool, popular girls who suddenly befriend her. Meanwhile, she is pursuing her dream as a photographer and still trying to abandon thoughts of her “first mistake”, Noah, who just happens to weave himself into the plot. Sam, while not a small character, seemed like a secondary character to all of these plot lines.
I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a fun read filled with multiple morals. Due to the variety of relationships intertwined together, everyone can relate to at least one of Sadie’s struggles (or her addiction to iced coffee).