i am still obsessed with this book and will read literally anything else that ann liang writes. if you could see the sun deeply understands the drive behind the sometimes stereotypical asian overachiever student archetype and that makes this book so much richer for it
This one really took me by surprise! A delightful contemporary with magical realism with writing inside as beautiful as that cover outside. Not only is the writing well done, but the execution of discussion on the topic of class dynamics actually surprised me as well. I wasn't expecting this to pack so much of a punch. I think this is a perfect book for any young adults library.
Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for this DRC.
Teenagers (and adults, too!) often feel invisible, especially in a crowd, but when quiet, hardworking Alice is told she will no longer be able to attend her private school, she actually becomes invisible. Alice decides to use this newly acquired not-so-super power (she can’t control it) to spy on her schoolmates and sell the info.
This was a great story with wonderful characters. The cover is very evocative of the mood you will feel while reading it.
Well written and the cover is just so cool! I was so excited when I was approved because I had been seeing this book on Goodreads. Loved it.
"If You Could See the Sun" by Ann Liang is a poignant and emotionally charged young adult novel that delves into themes of mental health, friendship, and the power of empathy. Liang's storytelling prowess shines as she crafts a tale of self-discovery, compassion, and the complexities of navigating the challenges of life. The book's relatable characters and heartfelt plot create an immersive reading experience that resonates with teens and young adults. Liang skillfully explores the emotions of struggling with mental health issues, the importance of seeking help, and the impact of genuine connections, adding depth to the narrative. "If You Could See the Sun" is a powerful reminder that understanding and support can make a world of difference, leaving readers with a sense of empathy and a greater awareness of the importance of mental health and reaching out to those in need.
Why oh why did it take me so long to read this book! If You Could See the Sun has been lingering on my tbr for entirely too long for how good it is. Not only does Ann Liang definitively answer the question "would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?" but she does so in a fun, suspenseful, heartfelt way that left my jaw firmly on the floor and my stomach permanently rumbling. Seriously, don't read this book when you're hungry.
Alice is the quintessential good girl. She's respectful to her elders, obeys her parents, isn't distracted by friends or boys, and gets fantastic grades. In fact, she would have the top grades at her elite international boarding school if her annoying rival Henry Lee wasn't in the picture. Alice's well structured world begins to crumble around her when in a single day her parents break the news that they can't afford to send her back to her top tier, top dollar highschool for her final semester and she suddenly turns invisible. Like any self-respecting teen Alice panics and then promptly decides to monetize said invisibility. After all, she goes to school with the children of the uber wealthy, surely they'd have enough spare cash and dirty laundry to hire the services of a ghost?
I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between Henry and Alice as well as those between Alec and the rest of the cast. Alice's relationships with her parents, her peers, and her professors are both complex and believable. The characters are distinct, dynamic, and well-developed.
The amazing cast was perfectly complemented by the author's descriptive prowess. This book took me right back to the summer I spent studying abroad in Beijing. The tastes and the smells. The colors. The sounds. The school that looked like a cultural center or film set compared to the sprawling urban center around it. The cramped ride on the subway to work and the traffic jam of people waiting in the station for the summer rains to stop, regardless of where they had to be. The women doing their evening workout routines in the parking lot next to the grocery store. The curtained bus on our "experiencing china" trips. The overnight train sharing a car with random businessmen. The overly lavish hotel in the countryside intended to cater to Beijing tourists. The hike to see trees that were older than my home country. Oh and let's not forget, the food. The food descriptions in this book had me craving (and eating!) Chinese food for a week straight. It was magic.
Speaking of magic, it actually pains me to say that I had to knock a star off for the underdeveloped magic system. I really wanted to announce this as a five star read but in the end I couldn't get over the fact that there's no explanation given for the source of Alice's powers, nor does she seem to ever figure them out or even attempt to. It's just not believable to me that a character we've established to have genius level intellect or at least herculean level drive shrugs and accepts that she'll never understand her powers and just has to cross her fingers it will happen at the right time. At the very least we should have gotten a training montage of Alice attacking the problem with the scientific process. She should have a list of what doesn't work a mile long before she just decides to hope her powers activate at the right time. No trial and error at all? And after all that, she doesn't even bother to ask the one person that seems to know about this what might trigger the invisibility or where it came from. Okay, so I'll ignore the fact that the ending is a little open, I get it. I understand the powers are a physical manifestation of her mental state but this aspect of the story just isn't believable for a type A character like Alice. It's a convention plot driver but I needed at least one scene of explanation to fully buy in.
I obviously still thoroughly enjoyed this book and I plan to reread it next time the study abroad nostalgia hits.
Thank you to Ann Liang, Inkyard Press, and NetGalley for the e-ARC, even if it took me way too long to read it.
I enjoyed this book. I thought the premise was interesting and it weirdly gave me A Christmas Carol vibes? I think it was because of the idea of the MC thinking people didn’t notice or need her. The romance was sweet and I’d read a sequel about these characters.
I’d also read more from Ann Liang.
I'm not huge on magical realism, so I knew that there was a chance this book didn't fit my reading. With that said my issues weren't with the magical realism, it was with the age. I probably would've loved this story more in an adult fiction instead of young adult. I found the romance to be pretty meh, although enemies to lovers helped it along the way.
This was a really cute and fun read. I loved the characters and the storyline. It wasnt mindblowing but still really good
I can say that If You Could See The Sun has finally restored my love for YA contemporaries.
If You Could See The Sun is an intriguing story about Alice who after discovering she can turn invisible, starts to use her power to discover and sell her classmates’ deepest secrets to pay the tuition at her elite boarding school in Beijing.
I had a bad streak of messy YA contemporary books and I thought maybe I had lost my love and/or interest for them. However, Ann Ling has completely obliterated those thoughts with this magical, snarky story.
The rivals-to-lovers component of the book made it so terribly compelling and sweet. I have never wished for two people to come together as much as I did with Alice and Henry.
Read if you’re interested in fun thrillers, multicultural stories, and all the angst of being a teenage girl trying to fit in!
This was a great read. It was beautifully written and I saw myself in the environment. However, this book isn't for everyone. The story is excellent and the characters were well thought out but, I didn't or cannot see myself coming back to this story as it was a slow read.
“You know,” I muse out loud, “if it weren’t for the fact that we hated each other’s guts, we’d probably make an impressive power duo.”
“Wait. We hate each other?”
cute YA read and will def be reading more by Ann Liang in the future! she executed the whole academic rivals to lovers trope flawlessly from the very beginning. the fact that despite their rivalry, henry is the first person alice goes to when she becomes invisible? perfection. the fact that henry has a picture of him and alice on his desk? perfection.
so the story is completely under alice’s POV. i would consider myself pretty dedicated to my academics and a bit of a perfectionist, but i pale in comparison to alice. alice is the biggest perfectionist and works incredibly hard. but unfortunately, her family is having trouble affording the elite school that she attends (and everyone else at the school but alice is rich af $$). suddenly alice starts turning invisible and she tries to find a way to make money off of this newfound power.
how alice starts becoming invisible and how (at the end) she stops becoming invisible is never explained, and imo it doesn’t need to be. alice has always been invisible at her school. no one has ever seen her or her family’s struggles with money, and her being able to become physically invisible actually serves as a nice metaphor.
the way the story escalates and unfolds was a little bit crazy and i was definitely yelling in my head at parts (inner thoughts: no! this is not going to end well if you do this alice!!). the plot was engaging. and i even choked up a bit when alice returns home and admits everything to her parents. that conversation was beautiful.
alice and her growth are mainly prioritized and focused on, but henry is there bantering with her every step of the way. they are both geniuses and one day they will probably have little genius babies who take over the world
This book was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed reading about our main character Alice and seeing what she did with her newfound superpowers. The way the story developed from lighthearted shenanigans to more intense and serious secret missions was really fun and helped me really feel for our main characters. There was a lot of relationship building in this book, both platonic and romantic and I enjoyed the even split between the two. I also really appreciated the themes explored in this book, from finding out what really matters in life, socioeconomic status, and the Chinese-American experience.
Overal this was a really fun story and would be great for those looking for an easy scifi/fantasy read.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.
Thank you to Netgalley for giving me an arc in exchange for a review!
Alice is a student at an uber-prestigious international school who feels like an outcast because of her family background. So when she suddenly gains the power to turn invisible, she decides to use it to her advantage by blackmailing her fellow classmates. But when things escalate from petty secrets to dangerous plots, Alice is forced to decide her own limits.
Overall, great book! It was a very fun and fast read, and Alice was a great protagonist throughout. The academic rivals to lovers was incredibly well done and had me screaming at parts. I wasn't the biggest fan of how the invisibility was woven in. It felt pretty convenient at times and we never quite got an explanation for it. Honestly, was not really here for the main plot, just the romance part.
Imaginative and heartfelt, the cover initially drew me in and encouraged me to request this title, and I'm delighted that the plot delivered as well.
Alice is the only (low income) scholarship student at her elite Beijing boarding school. She works extremely hard (which, in turn, causes isolation from those around her) to maintain her grades and her standing as one of the top students. In the beginning of the book, her parents break the news to her that they can no longer afford to pay the remainder of her school tuition and next semester she must switch schools. Soon after, in the middle of an awards ceremony, she begins shaking uncontrollably and feels extremely cold and discovers that she cannot see her own reflection--she is completely invisible!
So she decides to seek out someone who is as cunning and genius as her. She seeks out her own nemesis, Henry. Together they develop an app to use this new ability to fulfill requests of their fellow students that only someone invisible could do. Of course, it takes some work to learn how to even master the invisibility, as it is something that comes and goes. But eventually, Alice earns enough money to...well, you'll have to read the book to see how the story ends.
I liked that there was such a climactic situation at the end that really threw a wrench in the whole story. All of the characters were very well written and this was a very unique story. Given the title I thought it was going to be a bit more flowery and profound, but I know the line in the book where the quote came from and it is significant.
Surprisingly a lovely read!! Its not what I expected but I love the academic rival to lover troupe in this book. It was well executed!! Both characters are also likeable, they are so cuteee. Highly recommend!!
I absolutely loved the commentary on class, status, privilege, and opportunity. The choices the main character has to make as a result of poor financial circumstances wonderfully illustrate how merit and intelligence often come second to money.
Really enjoyed, and would definitely recommend!
it's monday, and that means another review from the queue (tbh everyday of the week is fair game for a belated review, but here we are), this time for ann liang's ya novel 'if you could see the sun'. this book got really popular on #bookstagram when it first came out, but unfortunately this was just not my jam.
in short, the book follows alice, a girl from a poorer family on scholarship at an elite boarding school who suddenly finds herself able to turn invisible. seeing an opportunity to make some tuition money, she enlists the help of her classmate to create an app to monetize her new power, doing the dirty work of her classmates for a price. but as the tasks escalate to committing actual crime, alice must decide if continuing with this app is worth the high consequences.
this book overall felt like a rough first draft: the dialogue was very juvenile, and the plot felt very simplistic. none of the characters were particularly compelling, and the rivals-to-lovers romance that the book features left me feeling lukewarm. there was also no explanation for alice's sudden bouts of invisibility, and the reader was meant to just accept it at face value. it all just felt short-sighted, and the book could have used more time to develop its plot and characters.