I just finished the first book of DelSheree Gladdens’s Aerling Series, Invisible. It is a science fiction story about Olivia and her invisible friend, Mason, who has lived with her and her family since she found him on the street when they were kids. She is the only one who can see him and it isn’t until they are in their final years of high school that they find out he is an Aerling, part of an alien race. Not only that, but he’s being hunted by Sentinels, who consider Aerlings impure, and if anyone finds out that Olivia found Mason on the street instead of him being assigned to her family by Caretakers, then they will take him away from her, and she is not ready for that, even though it will put her own life in danger.
Even though this is not a dystopian story and its plot is very different from the Hunger Games, it still reminds me of the Hunger Games. Here’s why:
1) Similar Love Triangle
Love triangles are very common throughout teen lit, but this one is especially like the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. In Invisible, there are two guys in love with Olivia. Mason, obviously, is. He’s been her best friend growing up and is completely in love with her even though she has never considered a romantic relationship before. This is a lot like Gale and Katniss, who grew up together as best friends only for Gale to fall in love while Katniss refuses to consider a romantic relationship because she doesn’t want to bring another child into District 12.
Then there is Hayden, who has been in love with Olivia for a long time, but has been too nervous in the past to talk to her. However, he is always there for her when he can be, and he even saves her life. Any Peeta fans smiling right now?
2) No Black and White Sides
After reading Mockingjay, it’s pretty clear that District 13 is not all it’s cracked up to be. Instead of being the hero to the Capital’s villain, they are just a different side of a very repulsive coin. Same for the Caretakers. Even though they don’t believe Aerlings are inferior to humans, they think civilians are inferior and will keep their secrets safe with their life, even information that is vital to Olivia. The only Caretakers we met are cold and emotionless. They hate their daughter for telling a secret when she was seven, and Olivia believes that the only reason they reproduced to begin with was so their family could continue caring for Aerlings.
So, I will recommend this book to Hunger Games fans, because it is an excellent read and has these similarities. I will also recommend this book to most teen romance readers and urban fantasy readers. I think they will be pleasantly surprised by this book.