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Invisible Things Hardcover – November 23, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006123978X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061239786
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,763,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up–Set in 1939 Denmark, this story uses the same alternative history device as Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan (S & S, 2009), but it doesn't work here. Instead, the book is a confusing mishmash of characters with the history and science not fully explored. It is a novel more of explanation than action. Sixteen-year-old Sophie, an orphan living at a scientific facility operated by Niels Bohr, has been smuggled out of Scotland for her own safety. She's hoping to speak to Alfred Nobel about the death of her parents. After a gas and pellet attack at Bohr's birthday party and the subsequent invasion of Denmark, Sophie, her friend Mikael (undergoing some strange personality changes due to the gas), and a few of the scientists from the institute evacuate to Sweden where they stay in the same boarding house as Mikael's brother. After a rather surreal meeting with Nobel, during which she finds out that her father had successfully designed the atomic bomb, she gets confirmation that she is Nobel's granddaughter and heir. She is sent on a long journey to negotiate plans for the weapon, and to rescue Mikael, who has been hypnotized into following Elsa Blix, a weapons dealer and also an illegitimate child of Nobel's who only wants recognition of her paternity. Few readers will stick with Invisible Things to its unsatisfying and rather sudden conclusion.–Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FLα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In this sequel to the 1938 alternate-history The Explosionist (2008), 16-year-old orphan Sophie lives in Copenhagen at the Institute of Theoretical Physics. There, she is in the presence of invisible things at all times: experiments in nuclear fission, secrets surrounding her heritage, mysterious personality-changing explosives, and perhaps even love. As the threat of war approaches, Sophie and Mikael travel to Stockholm, where a changed Mikael meets with a dangerous figure from Sophie’s past, and Sophie embarks on a dangerous trek to find him. This is an odd assemblage of mystery, history—sometimes factual, sometimes invented—and a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen.” The complexities of the plot, coupled with the language teetering between lush and verbose, make this inventive novel a niche selection for curious readers. Grades 9-12. --Heather Booth

More About the Author

Jenny Davidson is the author of four novels and two nonfiction books about eighteenth-century British literature. She has an insatiable lifelong appetite for novels and a more recent obsession with endurance sport; she is currently training for Ironman Wisconsin. She lives in New York City, where she teaches in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her next book, Notes on Style: A Life in Sentences, will be published by Columbia University Press in 2014.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Woodard on November 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed Davidson's previous book, The Explosionist. It was full of mystery and intrigue. Invisible Things started right where the last book ended. A lot that was a mystery in the first book is revealed, along with several other secrets. Sophie was just as clever and thoughtful in the first book. I love Mikael. He was lovely and I found him really interesting. I love the alternative history that Davidson creates. It is so rich and full of people that were actually in our world. I found parts of the plot to drag on and a bit was unrealistic. Even with that I found such a unique and stunning book that catches your attention from the beginning. I highly suggest that you should read this book, it will capture your attention and bring you to a new world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Liviania VINE VOICE on March 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I unfortunately wasn't able to read The Explosionist first. I dislike starting with a sequel, but sometimes it's fun to see how well the book works when you don't start familiar with the world. INVISIBLE THINGS did manage the set-up well. I liked that it was set in Denmark and other places that aren't often seen in English literature. Plus, the places were new to Sophie, who came to Denmark by way of a school in Scotland, so new readers wouldn't be lost there. The details of the steampunk world took awhile to unfold, but one paragraph in particular played catch-up nicely:

When would the dynamiteur Alfred Nobel send word that he was ready to see Sophie? . . . When Nobel did finally reach out to her, would the message be brought by her old chemistry teacher, Mikael's older brother, Arne? Would Mikael - but Sophie could hardly stand to thing about it, the idea so thoroughly and confusingly excited and shamed her - ever want to kiss her? (ARC, p. 20)

The rhetorical questions felt like someone testing out different scenarios in their mind. It also brought in things that had happened while still focusing on future action, which prevented drag.

Unfortunately, drag did occur elsewhere. Due to my current focus on my thesis, I read INVISIBLE THINGS in bits and pieces, spare moments snatched during bus commutes and waiting for water to boil. Thus, I may not be doing full justice to the book. At the same time, I just never felt compelled to sit with it longer. I'm behind on a term paper outline because I picked up Jim Butcher's
...Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Invisible Things is one of those novels that you want to love. I mean REALLY love, but somewhere along the way from the beginning to the ending... you find that something is just missing. And this leaves you not too sure exactly what you feel about the novel as a whole.

The plot starts off promising enough. Sophie's parents die when she is quite young. Under circumstances that just do not seem right in her mind. In order to come to terms with her past, Sophie embarks on an adventure that will lead her down a path that is as remarkable as it is, at times, painful.

The mystery aspect of the novel quite compelling. It is a full-bodied mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat trying to stay one step ahead of Sophie and her thinking. Now while I did enjoy this aspect of the novel, I must admit that it took over a vast majority of the focus of the novel. It seemed like every time I thought Davidson was going to focus on some other element, here came the mystery again. It seemed like if Sophie was not thinking about how to solve the mystery then she was collecting evidence... and more evidence.

As a whole, Invisible Things was not exactly what I was expecting. But it had plenty of redeeming qualities. A fascinating lead female who will stop at nothing in her hunt for the truth. A setting that I would love to lose myself in. And a mystery that is too far fetched to be true, but you love it anyways.
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