Published by W.W. Norton & Company on July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Contemporary, Adult
Format: Print, Hardcover
The moving story of a daughter’s quest to discover the truth about her beloved father’s hidden past.
Ada Sibelius is raised by David, her brilliant, eccentric, socially inept single father, who directs a computer science lab in 1980s-era Boston. Home-schooled, Ada accompanies David to work every day; by twelve, she is a painfully shy prodigy. The lab begins to gain acclaim at the same time that David's mysterious history comes into question. When his mind begins to falter, leaving Ada virtually an orphan, she is taken in by one of David's colleagues. Soon after she embarks on a mission to uncover her father’s secrets: a process that carries her from childhood to adulthood. What Ada discovers on her journey into a virtual universe will keep the reader riveted until The Unseen World's heart-stopping, fascinating conclusion.
I heard about this book on booktube from Mercedes. Her review made me instantly want to read this book, so I quickly rushed to the Chapters website and ordered it. It was one of those books that I had a good feeling about, and was so anxious to read. I’m so glad I picked this book up, because it’s safe to say that this book is my favourite book of 2017 so far.
I read this back in January, and I had a serious book hangover for about a month. This book is absolutely amazing. Plot wise, it’s not a thriller, but it is a bit of a mystery. This book isn’t fast-paced, it is very much character driven. We first meet our main character, Ada Sibelius, who is 12 years old and her father, David Sibelius. David is a genius who home-schools Ada at his lab, the Bit, in Boston. He is a single father, though his colleagues are like a family to Ada, especially Liston. Ada feels like she doesn’t really fit in with other children. She doesn’t really know how to socialize with them because most of the time she keeps company with the adults at the lab. The book begins with Ada and David preparing for their summer party, which all the members of the Bit attend. Ada notices the first signs of David behaving strangely during this party, where he forgets the end of his famous riddle, and stares blankly as if he’s forgotten things. When David’s memory begins to fail, Ada’s life begins to slowly unravel. David leaves Ada with an encrypted floppy disk. She must decode the key in order to view the contents, and find out what he wanted to tell her. David’s behaviour becomes more erratic and he is becoming more forgetful. Eventually, David is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is put into a home where he can be looked after. When David is no longer able to care for Ada, she lives with Liston for 4 years, until she turns 18. In those years, Ada is never able to solve the the key.
We then jump back and forth in time, from Ada as a teen, to Ada as an adult, who has has a very successful career developing a virtual reality, The Unseen World. Eventually, she realizes that David left the answer with her all those years ago, and she is finally able to crack the key. The secrets she uncovers about David are absolutely heartbreaking. I won’t give spoilers, but it will make you feel so much for David. The characters in this book made me feel so deeply invested in them that I didn’t want to put this book down. I stayed up late to read, and I loved every minute of reading it. When it ended, I wanted to go back to the beginning and start again. I honestly don’t know what it was that made me feel so strongly for these characters, and feel attached to them so quickly, but Liz Moore was able to do it so flawlessly.
The writing was just beautiful. I don’t fee like any part of the book dragged, and it is a rather long book. I was completely interested, and didn’t want it to end. The ending of this book was one that made so much sense, yet I didn’t see it coming at all. It’s not really shocking, but it will change how you look at the story (and probably make you cry). It’s amazing, and truly. It’s a very happy and bittersweet end to the story. I really love this book, and I would definitely recommend it. In fact, after I finished it I wanted to buy it for everyone I knew who loved to read, just so they could feel everything I was feeling. This is one that will stick with you long after you finish it. I will definitely be looking out for Liz Moore’s work in the future!
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