Invisible I - Amanda Valentino, Stella Lennon, Melissa Kantor
Callista Leary is a member of the popular clique at Endeavor High, the I-girls. However, she’s also secretly the friend and guide to eccentric new girl Amanda Valentino. When Amanda doesn’t show up for school, Callie finds herself called to the Vice Principal’s office along with Nia and Hal, two students outside her social stratum. It seems that Amanda has disappeared, leaving a bold statement behind linking the three students together. It seems Callie was not Amanda’s only guide, and the three students soon find themselves working together to find out where-and even who-Amanda Valentino really is.

Callie, the protagonist of the first in the eight book Amanda Project series, is definitely a bit off putting at first. She and the rest of her friends, the “I-girls” (so named for the fact that all their names end on the same vowel), come off as the worst popular high school girl stereotypes. Each is rather interchangeable, and their attitude towards the other students at the school make Callie and her friends appear as very unlikeable cardboard characters.

It soon becomes apparent this isn’t the case, as the reader soon learns that Callie is very insecure about her social status as well as her home life. Much of Invisible I revolves around Callie’s struggle to become comfortable with herself as an individual, and she becomes much more sympathetic as the story goes on.

The mystery of Amanda is intriguing in itself, although little is actually revealed in this book alone. What little information is discovered leads to the main characters finding out just how little they actually know about the titular character. Amanda herself is more a MacGuffin than a character, appearing only in flashbacks. There is also a secondary mystery revolving around the disappearance of Callie’s mother that may or may not be connected to the major plot.

Also of note is the book’s tie-in alternate reality game at www.theamandaproject.com. In-universe the website is created by the three main characters (Callie, Hal, and Nia,) and readers can share information about Amanda that may be incorporated in future novels. It’s a fun concept, and it will be interesting to see how it works out in regards to the progression of the story.

The cover is credited to “Stella Lennon”, which as the website explains, is a pseudonym that will encompass the entire series. Each novel will be written by a different credited author, with the next two books set to be told from the perspectives of Hal and Nia.

Invisible I was a pleasant surprise, and The Amanda Project looks to be a fun series, with an intriguing mystery and good character development.

This review was based on a review copy provided by Barnes and Noble’s online community.