Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Carla Buckley’s Invisible is a stunning novel of redemption, regret, and the complex ties of familial love.
Growing up, Dana Carlson and her older sister, Julie, are inseparable—Dana the impulsive one, Julie calmer and more nurturing. But then a devastating secret compels Dana to flee from home, not to see or speak to her sister for sixteen years.
When she receives the news that Julie is seriously ill, Dana knows that she must return to their hometown of Black Bear, Minnesota, to try and save her sister. Yet she arrives too late, only to discover that Black Bear has changed, and so have the people in it.
Julie has left behind a shattered teenage daughter, Peyton, and a mystery—what killed Julie may be killing others, too. Why is no one talking about it? Dana struggles to uncover the truth, but no one wants to hear it, including Peyton, who can’t forgive her aunt’s years-long absence. Dana had left to protect her own secrets, but Black Bear has a secret of its own—one that could tear apart Dana’s life, her family, and the whole town.
“Beautifully written and unsettling . . . leaves you with a lingering sense of dread long after you close the last page.”—Chevy Stevens
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Buckley's disappointing sophomore effort (after The Things That Keep Us Here) tracks the repercussions of familial secrets and corporate negligence, and crumbles under the weight of too many plot lines, an unsurprising twist, and underdeveloped characters. After 17 years, prodigal Dana returns to smalltown Black Bear, Minn., in order to attend her sister's funeral and care for Peyton, Dana's ostensible niece. Julie succumbed to kidney disease, and Dana harbors suspicions that the chemical plant where Julie worked, and where her widower husband and Peyton continue to work, might be responsible for her death and the rise in kidney-related ailments among the townsfolk. In alternating chapters, Dana investigates the operations of the Gerkey factory, which refuses to reveal the ingredients being used to develop sunscreen for a military contract, while Peyton reflects on her mother's death. Interwoven throughout are additional narrative threads addressing the dubious parentage of Peyton, the benefits and drawbacks of nanotechnology, corporate environmental responsibility, and Dana's career in the demolition business. Ultimately, the story is spread far too thin to sustain interest.