Thursday, March 4, 2010

Review: Invisible Lines by Mary Amato

Tags: juvenile fiction, middle grade, poverty, humor, family, peer pressure, acceptance, soccer, science

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Seventh-grader Trevor Musgrove has just moved with his mother and two younger siblings to a run-down apartment complex called Hedley Gardens, which everyone calls “Deadly Gardens.” Trevor’s life—full of money worries, babysitting, and hand-me-downs—is a far cry from his well-off classmates, especially the popular soccer stars Xander and Langley. But Trevor is determined to use his optimism and ever-present sense of humor to give himself a new start, despite his family troubles.

Unfortunately, Trevor’s humor both helps him (by helping him make friends and earn his cool science teacher’s respect) and harms him (by making an enemy of Xander). When assumptions based on his poverty land him in trouble, Trevor must learn to hold his head high and do the right thing—which is not usually the easy thing.


INVISIBLE LINES surprised and delighted me with its compelling voice, age-appropriate humor, and heartfelt story line. This is a true middle-grade winner that deserves to be read by everyone!

To start, Mary Amato slips easily into the voice of a seventh-grade boy. Trevor makes all the funny comments that we wished we could’ve made in middle school to be well-liked, and yet he does everything without the least hint of malice. He is genuinely compassionate with his brother and sister (both of whom have lively and memorable personalities of their own) while simultaneously having the typical adolescent concerns about being accepted, having the right friends, and owning brand names.

Every component of this novel is well put together, from fully fleshed-out characters to the science lessons on mushrooms to the bumps in Trevor’s relationships with his new friends and family. Parents will want their sons to be like Trevor, while younger readers will clamor to be Trevor’s friend. This is the first of Mary Amato’s books that I’ve read, but with the quality and cohesiveness of INVISIBLE LINES, I know it won’t be my last!

Similar Authors
Stephanie Tolan (Surviving the Applewhites)
Richard Peck
Andrew Clements (Frindle)

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - Quite delightfully colorful! I'm not sure it really matches the darker tones of this novel,  but I love the chalky graffiti-like feel of the image.

EgmontUSA / Nov. 24, 2009 / Hardcover / 336pp. / $15.99

Copy provided by third-party publicity company. Thank you, B!


  1. Sounds really good! Thanks for the interesting review :D

  2. Hello,
    I just found your blog. This book sounds good. Maybe I'll get it for my birthday : )

    I have a question that I hope you don't find did you get so many followers?!?! That is insane! I only have 14 and I've had my blog for a year now : ) LOL!

    Nice post!

  3. Hi,
    Readers might find it interesting to see my process in the 3-minute video: Writing Invisible Lines.

    Great blog! And thanks for the thoughtful review.

  4. Sounds like a good one! I saw it on the publishers site and thought it looked good and now I get to read your great review!!!

  5. Great review! I don't usually read MG but this one looks very good. I will have to check it out.

    By the way, I really like your blog and I wanted to pass this blog award on to you.


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