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Things Not Seen Paperback – Deckle Edge, April 20, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 309 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Things Not Seen Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Teens, especially those not in the über-popular set, know all about feeling invisible. But what would happen if you actually did wake up invisible one day? Fifteen-year-old Bobby is faced with this curious predicament in Andrew Clements's compelling novel Things Not Seen. Doing his best to adapt, Bobby informs his parents and grows more and more frustrated as they try to control his (unseen) life. Attempting to take matters in his own hands, he ventures out--naked--to the library, where he meets a blind girl who becomes a natural confidant. The ensuing drama, involving a nationwide search for other invisible people and a break-in to the computer database at Sears, Roebuck legal department headquarters ("News flash: Invisible people make excellent spies and thieves") is authentic enough in detail to allow readers to overlook the nuttiness of it all. Teens will identify with Bobby's experience of being essentially invisible. Highly recommended. (Ages 11 to 15) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The earnest and likable 15-year-old narrator is the principal thing not seen in Clements's (Frindle; The Jacket) fast-paced novel, set in Chicago. As the book opens, the boy discovers that he has turned invisible overnight. Bobby breaks the news to his parents who, afraid of being hounded by the media, instruct him to share his dilemma with no one. But when Bobby ventures out of the house and visits the library, he meets Alicia, a blind girl to whom he confides his secret. Their blossoming friendship injects a double meaning into the book's title. As preposterous as the teen's predicament may be, the author spins a convincing and affecting story, giving Bobby's feeling of helplessness and his frustration with his parents an achingly real edge. As his physicist father struggles to find a scientific explanation for and a solution to his son's condition, husband and wife decide that they will tell the investigating truancy officials and police that Bobby has run away. Bobby, however, becomes increasingly determined to take control of the situation and of his own destiny: "And I want to yell, It's my life! You can't leave me out of the decisions about my own life! You are not in charge here!" Equally credible is the boy's deepening connection to Alicia, who helps Bobby figure out a solution to his problem. Ages 10-14.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Things Not Seen
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Platinum ed. edition (April 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142407313
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142407318
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Most of my characters are fairly normal people who are dealing with the basics of everyday life--getting along with others, finding a place in the world, discovering talents, overcoming challenges, trying to have some wholesome fun along the way, and getting into some scrapes and a little mischief now and then, too. I guess I hope my readers will be able to see bits and pieces of themselves in the stories, particularly the novels that take place in and around school. School is a rich setting because schools and education are at the heart of every community. The stories that are set in school seem to resonate with kids, teachers, parents, librarians--readers of all ages. Everyone's life has been touched by school experiences. And I also hope, of course, that kids and others will enjoy reading, enjoy the use of language, enjoy my storytelling.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This review is for parents and other grown-up friends. Please give this book to your children to read! It will be their friend as they work their way into adolescence.
My 11 year old daughter pleaded with me to read this book. Several months later, finally having found the time to read a "kids' book" in my busy adult, responsibilities-filled life, I am almost intoxicated by its beauty!
This is Rebel Without a Cause in the emotional world of the younger crowd! It is a book about how "What is essential is invisible to the eye" (The Little Prince).
But most of all, this is truly a coming-of-age book. I suspect that the first stage of every increased level of maturity is the feeling that nobody in the world understands what we have just understood. This is a feeling of invisibility. I scanned through the kids' reviews of this book, and I don't worry that they seem to miss the metaphoric aspect of this feeling of being invisible. Books can speak to us on many levels, and whether they are conscious of it or not, I'm quite sure that this slightly confused, slightly frightened invisible boy who stands his ground in the face of the adult world will have a powerful influence on the lives of its readers.
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Format: Hardcover
Andrew Clements is well-known for a series of "school stories," novels about students and situations in school. In this book, "Things Not Seen," he takes a departure from that path for a unique and moving story about a boy who wakes up, takes a shower and finds that he's gone completely invisible.

This story has a fantastic premise, but it also has a deep feeling of realness. You may have fantasized about being invisible, but what if you didn't know to make it stop and had to deal with it all the time? The boy, Bobby, in this story, confronts this situation --- he can no longer go to school, he's afraid of being found and studied by the government and he can't even go out and hang with his friends. As he begins to deal with the realities of his new life, he finds himself doing and thinking things he never would have thought of before. And when his parents are hurt in a car crash, he's left alone at home and has to start fending for himself.

As Bobby ventures out, he meets a friend --- someone with whom he can share his experiences and open up to as he's never to anyone before. I won't spoil for you just how this happens, you'll have to read this and find out for yourself.
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A Kid's Review on May 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
"It's after the shower. That's when it happens. It's when I turn on the bathroom light and wipe the fog off the mirror. It's what I don't see. I look a second time, and then rub at the mirror again. I'm not there. That's what I'm saying. I'm. Not. There."

Every teenager can remember a time they felt invisible. For fifteen year-old Bobby Phillips of Chicago, life changes dramatically when he wakes up one morning and finds out that he is literally invisible. Clements introduces this conflict on the first page, and instantly draws you in. Bobby knows that because of his newly discovered condition, he can no longer go to school, see his friends, or have any contact with the outside world because of what people will think. Even his physicist father cannot figure out what went wrong. Clements uses the metaphor of teenage invisibility to covey a powerful message: even people who feel invisible can be seen for what they are.

Bobby believes his life has ended until one day he decides to dress up in heavy clothes and escape to the library. He meets a blind girl named Alicia Van Dorn who knows all people as invisible. Clements uses the character of Alicia to show Bobby that he doesn't have to be seen to be noticed. Alicia symbolizes the people in the world that look beyond physical appearances. They instantly become friends and embark on a journey to find out how to get Bobby back to normal. The two friends and their families start to wonder if there are more like Bobby in the world and if there are, where and how to find them. The situation only worsens when Mr. and Mrs. Phillips are charged with the murder of their missing son. Can the Phillips and the Van Dorns get Bobby back to normal before it's too late?
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Format: Hardcover
This book ventures out exploring the scientific possibilities of invisibility, talks about disabilities such as blindness, and is heavily based on trust, friendship, and family.
A simple summary might include the fact that Bobby Phillips becomes invisible, and with help from his parents and a newfound friend Alicia, he looks harder and finds that he may have a chance to become normal again.
Looking deeper into his story, it starts out saying that supposedly out of nowhere, Bobby Phillips suddenly wakes up and finds himself invisible. However, the book is more practical and says that it is just a matter of light not reflecting off of him. His parents decide that the right thing to do would be to keep his invisibility a secret so the government and media wouldn't harm him.
Bobby, though devastated that he may never become normal again, starts exploring the outside world despite his parents telling him not to go out. He visits the library and ends up bumping into a blind girl. Her name is Alicia, and he ends up telling her that he is invisible.
Eventually it turns out that her Dad catches her talking to no one on one day in the library, so it goes that Alicia's whole family knows. In a way, this helps a lot because both Alicia and Bobby's dads are scientists.
Bobby goes with Sherlock Holmes' method of writing down everything from the scene of the crime. It was Alicia's dad who figured the invisibility had something to do with the electric blanket and certain properties of electricity.
Bobby decides to see if there was anyone else who had a problem with the blanket, and calls the company, Sears. He does discover that there was definitely something very wrong with the blanket, and finds that there is at least one other person out there who was turned invisible.
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