The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue | Book Review
For months now I have known that I'd want to review this book, but it wasn't until I started reading it that I saw just how hard it would be to do that.
If you've read any of my reviews you know that I tend to have a rational approach to the books review, trying to be as impartial as I can. I talk about the plot, the characters, the writing. If the book touched me in any way I talk about what I felt and, if it didn't, I say the reasons why but also say why anyone else could like it even if I didn't.
If I'm being rational about this book, simply analysing everything I mentioned above, it wouldn't be my favourite V. E. Schwab book. But as Victoria herself says it, she makes her books different from one another so that you can't compare apples to apples, instead, you have to compare apples to oranges, or pears, which means that two books don't have to live up to the same expectations, the same standards, because they are simply two different things.
And I can't be rational about this book, because the reason I loved as far as to say it is my favourite V. E. Schwab book, was because of how much I connected to it and how it made me FEEL.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is about a 23-year old named Addie, who wants to escape her life in a small French town and wants to live, be free. So she makes a deal with the darkness to live forever. The caveat: she'll be forgotten by everyone she ever meets. Until, one day, 300 years later, a boy named Henry remembers.
Even if you're familiar with Schwab's writing like I am, this is different from all her other books. It's still beautifully written, lyrical, and immersive, but this isn't a story much focused on plot. It is a story based on characters, and what they feel. There isn't much about the writing that I can talk about because I'll always be biased. Victoria is my favourite author, she's the one I will always read as long as she keeps writing, and I feel like that's such a personal thing, whether or not you connect with ones writing.
So let's talk about the characters. As I said, what makes this story is its characters, their motivations and feelings, the emotional journey you go through with them. Addie is a dreamer, fierce, hopeful, and resilient, who wants to live so much she'd rather be forgotten than not live at all. Whilst Henry is hopeless. He's spent his whole life trying to fit in, to find his path, figure out where he belongs. I loved this book so much because I saw myself in both of them.
I saw myself in Addie, as she was so afraid of the life set out for her, she prays to whichever god will listen. The struggle to be remembered, to leave a mark in the world. In her constant need and worry about being forgotten by everyone, about not making a difference. But I mostly saw myself in Henry. In his hopelessness, in feeling lost, not knowing where to go. I related to his depression and his anxiety, to his constant feeling and worry about not being enough, not knowing which path to take in life. And I saw myself in the root of both their fears, terrified of the passing of the time, the feeling that it's going by and I'm wasting it away.
And that's why I can't be rational about this book, because Addie LaRue threw open a door and showed me all my flaws, my fears, my dark thoughts and struggles and doubts and made me feel seen, and heard, and understood.
If you've ever struggled with who you are versus who you want to be, worried about wasting your life away, about not knowing which road to follow, this book is for you. It felt uncomfortable, to see all my insecurities on a page like that, not being able to ignore them or look away. But it also feels great to know you're not alone and to normalise your feelings so you feel like maybe, you belong.
There was one thing I didn't like about this book, and it was the ending. I can't say why without spoiling it but let's just say it had one of my all-time least favourite tropes. One of the few things I can't stand in books, TV series or films, doesn't matter how well it is done. And even though this is done well, and it makes perfect sense, I didn't like it, because it's one of the few things that immediately removes me from a story. It did tie it off nicely with a bow, but it wasn't what I expected to happen and it threw me off a bit.
I gave this book 4.5/5 ⭐️. It's one that will stay for me for years and years and I see myself rereading it over and over again. I saw recently someone talking about their favourite books according to their age and if The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my teenagehood favourite book, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is quick to become my favourite adulthood one because both gave me what I needed when I needed it, nestling themselves in my heart to never leave.