The Amanda Project, Invisible I by Melissa Kantor
Harper Collins, 2009.ISBN 978000
Set in the United States this book is about a girl named Amanda Valentino who disappeared from Endeavor High about 6 months after enrolling. The narrator Callie Leary is part of the popular I-Girls clique but secretly helped with Amanda's introduction to her new school. This wasn't easy as Amanda was a bit of a social outcast who didn't seem to seek friends and wasn't worried what others thought.
Then Amanda disappears and Callie is summonsed to the Vice-principal's office where she finds that Nia Rivera, a definite weirdo and the arty but good looking Hal Bennett are also there. Evidently Amanda had also befriended these two, which was pretty hard to understand. Vice Principal Thornhill gives them all detention for not telling where Amanda is but they are just as mystified as him. However Amanda has left the trio different clues and this disparate group eventually decide to work together to find out more about Amanda and where she is.They even have the brainwave of setting up a website to try to find other people that knew Amanda so they can discover more about whom she was and why she disappeared. However unraveling the truth isn't simple and the mystery just gets more and more complicated raising more questions and giving no answers.
And then the book ends! Looking inside the cover I find that Invisible I is the first of a series. I wish they would advertise such important detail prominently on the outside! Delving a little deeper I find that The Amanda Project is an interactive, collaborative fictional mystery aimed at teenage girls, told across a variety of different media including the 8-book series, a website that features games, writing, art and social networking, and a related series of blogs, satellite sites, music, and merchandise. Its on MySpace, Face book, and Twitter! Readers can be interactive at the website where they can help Callie, Nia and Hal find Amanda and do other fun stuff.
The numerous drawings and doodles throughout the book give it a unique and friendly feel which would certainly appeal to the targeted readers. Fourth Story owns all rights for the property, is producing the content for The Amanda Project with a creative team. HarperCollins has the publishing rights to the eight book series and is also an investor in the property. The book content is good and suitable for 12 years plus. Given the techno age in which we now live there is probably a market for embedding books into websites. A brave move that will be keenly monitored.