Thursday, February 7, 2013

ARC Review: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Publisher:  EgmontUSA
Publication Date:  January 22nd, 2013

There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away. 

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

When I got the review request for Nobody, I was really excited.  I had only ever read one of Jennifer Lynn Barnes's books, Every Other Day, and I LOVED it (read my review HERE).  I was super-excited when I received it in the mail, and then I went to Goodreads to mark it as a "Currently Reading" book, and stopped dead in my tracks...  There were some downright awful reviews on this book, and many were from bloggers I know and respect.  That left me torn.  Do I read it because I've already committed to it, even though I really don't want to now?  Do I just skip it, and read something else?  What to do?  Clocking in at 400 pages, it was a book I was really reluctant to bother with if I was going to hate it...  Well, the conscientious side of me won out- I accepted the review request, and I was going to keep my word, and at the very least, read it...  Well, I'm glad I did, because I really liked Nobody (I also affirmed my policy to not post reviews of 2-star and lower books on my blog for fear of turning off someone who might have loved the book I hated).  I didn't love it quite as much as I did Every Other Day, but I thought it was a great, entertaining story that was well worth the time spent, even at 400 pages.

I found the premise of Nobody quite intriguing.  Basically, Nobodies are people that go through life without the world around them noticing that they are even there.  They aren't physically invisible, but they might as well be.  They can even commit murder in a crowd of people without anyone even processing that they were present.  No witnesses, which makes them perfect assassins...  Nix is a Nobody and has been trained his entire life to be just that.  He is unparalleled at what he does, until he is sent to take out Claire.  Claire is also a Nobody, although she has gone through life without knowing this.  All she knows is that people, even her parents, don't seem to notice her.  Then one day she gets this feeling that someone is watching her- a feeling utterly foreign to her- and she sees her would-be assassin, and he sees her.  They REALLY SEE each other, and that doesn't happen to either, EVER.  Because Nix is so thrown by this realization, he botches the attempt, and the story moves forward from there...  We learn there are other types of people besides Nobodies; There are Nulls, who are their opposite- larger than life, charismatic, and can bend anyone to their will without any effort at all.  Then there are the Sensors, who are the only ones who can see Nobodies and Nulls for who what they are.  The Institute has a long history of using Sensors to keep the normal people, the general public, blind to such abnormalities.  The Institute, however, is rife with corruption and secrets, and as things unfold in this book, it becomes a very compulsive read, and I found it nearly impossible to put down for a variety of reasons.  The plot moved quickly and made sense of what could have come across as nonsensical if it hadn't been so expertly executed.  Claire and Nix were great characters, and both grew on me tremendously as the story progressed.  Some reviewers complained about their inability to connect with either of them, but I think that was part of the appeal for me.  It's hard to connect with a person who has never really experienced any kind of human connection.  That person is going to seem somewhat flat to people who have had the joy of human bonding and the myriad of emotions that go along with it.   I found myself really absorbed in the growth both characters showed through experiencing a bond with another human for the first time.  I enjoyed seeing things through their eyes, feeling how they felt going through life alone and unnoticed, and then finding  one another, and for the first time feeling seen, and more importantly, feeling connected.  Normally, I detest insta-love or attraction, but in this case it is more than reasonable.  This book isn't all romance though.  Not even close.  It is action, conspiracy, mystery, and a full on story of survival.  Anyone who enjoys a fast-paced sci-fi adventure, that really makes you wonder if things aren't always as they seem, will enjoy Nobody.  I honestly can't, for the life of me, figure out why the negative reviews...

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  This book was graphically violent at times, and there was some sex, although not graphic in nature, by any stretch.  I would say this book is best suited for grades 7 and up (ages 12+), although as a more liberal parent, I would gladly allow my 6th grader to read it.

**Please enter my GIVEAWAY for a hardcover copy of NOBODY and a paperback copy of EVERY OTHER DAY by clicking HERE!!  Ends Sunday, February 17th.  USA/Canada**


  1. Can't wait to experience this one for myself ~ sounds amazing :) The different "kinds" of people is what interests me the most... *intrigued*

    Great review!

    Keely @ Realms of an Open Mind

  2. The concept for this book sounds quite a bit similar to China Miévill’s The City & the City, as you describe it. And that is definitely intriguing. I’d be a bit wary of instalove in this case, but this book does sound like it’s worth picking up.

  3. I'm glad you gave this one a chance, despite some negative reviews. I do love action and mystery, and can handle instalove when done well. I'll have to give this one a shot. Thanks for a great review! :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

  4. This is a great review! I have only been seeing good things about this book, so I'm definitely adding it to my must read list.

    Kate @ Ex Libris


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