Review: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Nobody Book Cover Nobody
Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Some people are Nobodies: ignored, unloved, practically invisible in every way. No one notices them. No one cares about them. They exist under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away. No one sees them coming. No one sees them leave.

That’s why Nobodies make the perfect assassins.

Seventeen-year-old Nix is very good at his job. So when the organization he works for sends him after a teenage girl named Claire, he doesn’t ask questions. He’s a killer. She needs to die.

For sixteen years, Claire has led a normal life being overlooked. Her parents are absent. She doesn’t have any friends. She has no idea what she is, or why anyone would want her dead. But she’s about to find out, because from the moment Nix attempts to carry out his mission, the two are caught up in a conspiracy of murder, cover-ups, and betrayal.

Nix is a killer. Claire is his target. But when he sets eyes on her, everything changes, because only the two of them can truly see each other – and two Nobodies are twice as dangerous as one.

Review:

I respect what Barnes is trying to do here, but Nobody just didn’t work for me. I like that the premise is unique, but its intrinsic limitations made it impossible for me to finish the book.

The problem with two protagonists who are “practically invisible in every way” is that no one notices or cares about them. Claire’s own parents forget she exists, and other people fail to register her presence even when she bumps into them hard enough to knock what they’re carrying out of their hands. The lack of meaningful interactions results in a boring plot.

The rare cases when Claire and Nix do manage to get someone to acknowledge their presence are unsatisfying. At one point, Nix confronts his boss and demands to know why he has been ordered to kill a seemingly innocent girl. Nix is angry, threatening, and obviously dangerous – he’s an assassin, after all – but his boss is completely unfazed. She’s not afraid of him, or angry, and even when Nix wraps his hands around his boss’ neck and tries to choke the answer out of her, she barely fights back.

A book like this just isn’t sustainable. The romance between Nix and Claire can’t compensate for the anticlimactic nature of the rest of the relationships in the book. It’s possible that the novel picks up pace as it goes on, but I didn’t stick around to find out.

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