cover image Wonders of the Invisible World

Wonders of the Invisible World

Christopher Barzak. Knopf, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-385-39279-2

The unpredictability of curses, magic, and love are inexorably entwined in this gracefully written story from adult author Barzak (Before and Afterlives). Aidan Lockwood, 17, feels like he's in a fog, unnoticed by classmates and going through the motions of life. That changes when a childhood friend, Jarrod, returns to Temperance, Ohio, resurfacing memories that Aidan has lost outright. Soon, Aidan is unearthing willfully hidden secrets, discovering his real feelings for Jarrod, strengthening the supernatural talents he shares with his mother, and learning that the deaths that mark his family tree are interconnected in ways he couldn't have known. Many books withhold critical information from protagonists in irritating ways, but this isn't one of them; while readers may share Aidan's frustrations about what his mother refuses to tell him, they'll also suspect%E2%80%94as Barzak sharpens both the stakes and a growing sense of dread%E2%80%94that there are good reasons she is doing so. If Jarrod is a bit too perfect, readers will gladly grant Aidan the presence of someone so reliable amid so much uncertainty, tragedy, and pain. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Sept.)