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Tell Me What You See Hardcover – November 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House; Tra edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 043972452X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439724524
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,721,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–Ever since Alissas father died, she and her friend Evelin have made a midnight pilgrimage to his grave every Christmas. But this year Berlin is covered in snow, and while searching for the grave, Alissa falls into a crypt where she finds a childs coffin with a strange plant growing from it. Seduced by the plant, Alissa eats it and finds that it has given her powers. She can see strange people who transform into ravens, are invisible to everyone else, and who appear to comfort the dying. She also develops the ability to call back the dead, although she does not immediately realize what she is doing. Evelin watches in horror as Alissa seeks to figure things out and avoid her ex-boyfriend, who has become frighteningly obsessive. This is an odd, often confusing story in which much is left unexplained. The people Alissa sees are almost like angels, but they are cold and uncompromising; the plant was the dead boys undeveloped gift, but why his unfulfilled potential takes over Alissa or causes her to develop these abilities is unclear. Still, the ambience is undeniable, and the elements behind the supernatural mystery, such as Alissas relationships with her mother and stepfather, are evocative and ring true. Readers seeking a truly unusual horror story may find some satisfaction, despite the flaws, but most will prefer Charles de Lints The Blue Girl (Viking, 2004), which covers similar territory more effectively.–Karyn N. Silverman, Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York City
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Review

Kirkus STARRED review
10/15/05
In the icy-cold weeks after Christmas, Alissa's normal adolescent problems are overlaid with supernatural mysteries. On her annual Christmas pilgrimage to her father's grave, Alissa falls through the snow to the tomb of a dead boy with a plant growing from his chest. When Alissa, magically compelled, plucks and eats the plant, she finds herself afflicted with visions. She sees people walking down the street whom nobody else can see, people who turn into ravens and fly across the sky. Alissa's rotten ex-boyfriend is also affected by Alissa's new powers, and becomes a preternatural stalker, obsessed with Alissa and blessed—or cursed—with the ability to find her. Only her best friend Evelin can help Alissa hold herself together in an increasingly surreal world. Alissa's story is told in alternating chapters by different characters, and the down-to-earth perspectives of Evelin and Alissa's stepfather keep this lyrical tale grounded until the satisfying and surprising conclusion. (Fantasy. YA)


Voice of Youth Advocates
(December 1, 2005; 0-439-72452-X; 978-0-439-72452-4)

In his first novel translated into English from German, Drvenkar transforms his protagonist, Alissa, by giving her the ability to see and talk to the spirits of the dead. Her gift begins when she discovers a strange purple plant growing out of a child's coffin in a crypt. Upon opening the lid, Alissa discovers that the plant has grown right through the child's heart. The plant insinuates itself into Alissa's psyche, causing her to take it home with her and then ingest it. Not only can she then see what cannot be seen, but also anyone who kisses her becomes obsessed with her. Her ex-boyfriend Simon, angry at her rejection, forces a kiss on her and then cannot stop stalking her. Alissa's friend Evelin does not understand exactly what is happening to Alissa, but she sacrifices everything-even her life-to save her. Drvenkar writes an exciting and imaginative thriller. The novel unfolds at a swift pace, following Alissa through the darkness of her unwelcome new gift. Readers will also be drawn to the three-dimensional characters fleshed out as the point of view shifts from chapter to chapter. Young adults who are captivated by stories of the paranormal will enjoy this title.-Leslie Carter.

SLJ 2/1/06
DRVENKAR, Zoran. Tell Me What You See. tr. from German by Chantal Wright. 290p. Scholastic/The Chicken House. 2005. Tr $16.99. ISBN 0-439-72452-X. LC number unavailable.
Gr 8 Up–Ever since Alissa's father died, she and her friend Evelin have made a midnight pilgrimage to his grave every Christmas. But this year Berlin is covered in snow, and while searching for the grave, Alissa falls into a crypt where she finds a child's coffin with a strange plant growing from it. Seduced by the plant, Alissa eats it and finds that it has given her powers. She can see strange people who transform into ravens, are invisible to everyone else, and who appear to comfort the dying. She also develops the ability to call back the dead, although she does not immediately realize what she is doing. Evelin watches in horror as Alissa seeks to figure things out and avoid her ex-boyfriend, who has become frighteningly obsessive. This is an odd, often confusing story in which much is left unexplained. The people Alissa sees are almost like angels, but they are cold and uncompromising; the plant was the dead boy's undeveloped “gift,” but why his unfulfilled potential takes over Alissa or causes her to develop these abilities is unclear. Still, the ambience is undeniable, and the elements behind the supernatural mystery, such as Alissa's relationships with her mother and stepfather, are evocative and ring true. Readers seeking a truly unusual horror story may find some satisfaction, despite the flaws, but most will prefer Charles de Lint's The Blue Girl (Viking, 2004), whi

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Pauley on February 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an odd but strangely compelling book. If you think about the plot too hard, things fall apart and make no sense; you must, MUST, kick in your suspension of disbelief and just allow yourself to be carried along by the story. Don't question things too much, just let it be. Because the ride is worth it.

Every Christmas, sixteen-year-old Alissa makes a pilgrimage to the local cemetery with her friend Evelin to visit the grave of her father. They go at midnight every year, but this year, things are interrupted when Alissa accidentally falls into a crypt. While there, she stumbles across the casket of a small boy who has a strange plant growing right out of his chest. She can't explain it, but she is compelled to take the plant and later winds up eating it, still in the dead of night.

She is visited by two strange characters (Elia and Aren) looking for something, which she deduces (correctly) to be the plant. They are amazed that Alissa can see them and disappear quickly without offering her any help, leaving Alissa alone and confused by the strange things that start to happen around her.

Best friend Evelin does her best to help, even fending off Alissa's ex-boyfriend-turned-stalker Simon. But Alissa seems to just slip farther and farther away from the real world. She can see people (like Aren and Elia) that turn into ravens and seem to comfort the dead and dying. She can bring back the dead, even though she doesn't at first realize that this is what her new "power" is.

Everything comes to a head when she finally tracks the raven-people to one of their hideouts and demands help.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sweet y0 on December 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book would end better than it did. It kind of followed the same path as 'The Lovely Bones' when I was reading it. Good start, excellent middle, and kind of a letdown in the end. All in all, it was a pretty good book, though. Kind of made me wish there was a sequel. Decide for yourself.
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