Title: Invisible Lines
Author: Mary Amato
Illustrator: Antonio Caparo
ISBN: 9781606840436
Pages: 319 pages
Publisher/Date: Egmont, c2009.

You never really know what another person is thinking because most human beings are good actors. I’m an excellent actor. If somebody is talking about a dad, like “My dad is going to buy me some new cleats,” I act like it’s no big deal.
Sometimes I say my dad is away on a business trip. Sometimes I say my parents are divorced. The truth is I don’t know what my dad looks like or where he is exactly. I know he’s in jail somewhere in Delaware, but I stopped asking my mom about him because she just says, “He blew it big-time,” and then she clamps her mouth shut. Sometimes I try to send out good thoughts to him so that maybe he’ll feel them and write me a letter or something. But sometimes I look out the window and feel bad thoughts streaming out of me like a virus on invisible lines. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.
Nothing more to say. (45-46)

Seventh-grader Trevor Musgrove has just moved to a run down apartment complex in Washington D.C. with his mom and two much younger step-siblings. He observes the lay of the land at his new school and starts to carve a nitch for himself as a great soccer player and an even better artist. But soccer-star Xander is not going to let Trevor get the best of him on or off the field. When he gets invited to play on a travel league, where is the ever resilant Trevor going to get the money to play? And will Xander interfere in his success?

Mary Amato does a marvelous job weaving this story of overcoming hardships in a realistic manner. Trevor’s mom doesn’t magically win the lotto and their problems are not solved by money or employment. Their situation hasn’t changed much by the end of the book, but Trevor’s outlook and relationships with his classmates have drastically improved. Trevor’s family is doing the best they can in the circumstances they find themselves in, which is all they can accomplish. It’s a good luck at poverty that is not preachy or too “woa is me”. The school has a diversified cast of characters, from silent observer Juan to outgoing Diamond and rich-kids Xander and his friend Langley who couldn’t be more different and still be friends with eachother. Readers are left wondering what could happen, as the book only covers the first couple weeks of school, but I like it this way because it gives the feeling that life is what you make it, without actually coming out and saying it.

I’m going to end this post with a summary of Trevor’s mom’s sayings about life, because I think we could all learn a lesson there.

  • You got to make do with what you got.
  • Everybody has a line… Figure out where it is and don’t cross it.
  • When people put you down, rise above it.
  • Judge people based on what they do, not what they have.
  • Truth gets you respect, lies get you trouble.
  • First time impressions stick like glue.
  • Don’t add more garbage to teh world.

I think we could all learn something from these, just like Trevor ultimately does.