I’ll be honest–it’s been a while since a novel has drawn me in and excited me. Many of the books I’ve recently finished have all been three-star reads, interesting enough but not memorable.
However, when my friend recommended The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab for our book club, little did I know, this would become my first five-star book read of 2022.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue tells the story of twenty-three-year-old French girl Adeline “Addie” LaRue who sold her soul to the darkness to gain her freedom. Unbeknownst to Addie, this exchange comes with a terrible price; because along with her freedom comes the catch of being forgotten by everyone she meets.
You see, when Addie talks to a friend or family member or makes a connection with someone new, she inevitably faces the future of them not being able to remember her. And even when she tries to leave her mark–via written notes or drawings–she will find them being erased and returned to its original blank slate. Because of this, Addie isn’t able to leave a mark, making her almost “invisible” to everyone she comes in contact with.
For 300 years since she made that deal, she has struggled with this type of existence… that is, until she meets bookstore seller Henry who is unfazed by her curse and remembers every little encounter and detail about her.
Describing it as a mix between The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Time Traveler’s Wife, I’d say Addie LaRue is a page-turner that will leave you feeling all types of emotions, from sadness about Addie’s situation to a sense of hope when she finally meets Henry. It’s a literal roller coaster ride that will have you experiencing “all the feels.”
Moreover, V.E. Schwab’s writing style is so descriptive and immersive that you will feel like you’re actually in the story. And with the time jumps, you, as a reader, can really envision that specific point in history wherein Addie’s story takes place and see how it’s affected her life.
Schwab also uses alternating viewpoints between chapters, so you’re able to empathize with these fictional characters and remember them for all their beautiful, messed-up, broken, and (very) human experiences.
In fact, Stardust author Neil Gaiman describes the book, “for someone damned to be forgettable, Addie LaRue is a most delightfully unforgettable character, and her story is the most joyous evocation of unlikely immortality.”
Lastly, I found a plethora of wonderful and relatable lines throughout the course of this novel, and I think this is a testament to Schwab’s wonderful storytelling. I particularly loved the following lines from the novel:
“Books, she (Addie) has found, are a way to live a thousand lives––or to find strength in a very long one.”
“The nicest days are always the ones we don’t plan.”
“Nothing is all good or all bad. Life is so much messier than that.”
It reportedly took Schwab ten years to complete the novel and her hard work really shows just how great the story came to be.
I really encourage everyone to go and read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and I can’t wait to read more books from the author moving forward.