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Invisible Lines

Invisible Lines is the newest middle-grade novel written by Mary Amato.

Trevor Musgrove has just moved to a not-so-cheerfully nicknamed apartment complex (“Deadly Gardens”) with his hard-working mother and two young siblings. His new middle-school is of a higher caliber than he’s been to, and Trevor is determined to get “in” with the popular boys, stay in an interesting class that he was somehow mistakenly placed, and make the elite “Plague” soccer team.

Thing is, unlike some of his new friends, Trevor needs to baby-sit his little brother and sister every evening while his Mom works to keep a roof over their heads. Also, unlike his new friends, Trevor can’t really afford a notebook for his new advanced science class or the cleats for soccer. He’s not sure how he can make all his dreams come true, but he’s sure gonna try.

First off, if the cover of Invisible Lines puts you off – I’m with you. (Because of technical issues, I was unable to put a cover picture on this post, but to check out the book and see what I'm talking about click here: It comes off even younger than middle-grade. The size of the print doesn’t really help either (large, senior-style words).

But once you start the novel, I’m pretty sure you’ll be as impressed as I was.

Invisible Lines delves into the rarely seen world (in children’s literature, especially) of next-to-utter-poverty. For Mary Amato to really show in a poignant, never overdramatic way, the life of a talented, smart boy living in the kind of apartment complex you never want to live in – dangerous, sad, and sometimes hopeless – and come out with an inspiring book that even brought tears to my eyes – Wow.

Some events that happen at Trevor’s apartment building startled me with its stark and heartbreaking reality. Things that many kids see or hear about daily, but you rarely read in books written for the age group. Mary Amato never talks down to her reader, and keeps the tone steady. I never felt that I was being taught a lesson, as much as seeing a real person’s life and the unpretentious encouragement that comes from that.

Mary Amato portrays Trevor’s mom realistically and sympathetically, but never smoothes away the flaws or edges of the authenticity of this life.

Yet, I make Invisible Lines sound far more depressing than it really is.

Invisible Lines also has lots of humor – at first the humor seemed a bit childish, but before I knew it I was enjoying it and identified the down-to-earth nature of the banter and jokes in everyday life. The characters in general, especially Trevor’s classmates and Trevor himself, came across as very grounded and recognizable to your own (at least my own) middle-school experience.

I never expected to be inspired (or find out so many, believe it or not, interesting facts about) mushrooms! But, I lie not, I’d be surprised if you don’t agree with me in saying that Invisible Lines is a powerful, sweet, and funny look at a boy who has a lot stacked against him and proves that it doesn’t have to stay that way.

Another novel that proves that the label “Ages 10 & Up” means nothing. ;)


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