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on April 24, 2005
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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VINE VOICEon September 21, 2005
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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on May 1, 2005
"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?

Clements does an excellent job of making the story suspenseful and mysterious from the first page. This novel is a story of adventure and friendship with a splash of science fiction. I couldn't set it down because of the fast paced and original plot. I felt as if I was right there with Bobby and Alicia trying to make everything work out. I truly recommend this book to junior high students who like becoming close to characters and sometimes feel invisible. Things Not Seen has a little bit of everything mixed together, which makes one thrilling story.
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on February 16, 2004
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.
With Alicia's help, he discovers a way that he might be able to reverse his condition... whether or not he goes back to normal would depend on whether or not you read the ending!
This book was very interesting. Andrew Clements writes in a style where you could fully relate with Bobby, and makes you look at invisibility with such a reality that it truly helps you feel the book. On a rating of 1-10, I think this book deserves a 7.
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on July 22, 2002
Together with my 8 year old son, this was a fantastic fantasy book. Although it features the whims and thoughts of an older boy, its perspective is perfectly innocent and wonderous enough to enthrall younger readers. The hero was a perfect role model and written in a believable voice for the reader. We just loved this!
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on September 24, 2003
As a secondary teacher of struggling readers I am always looking for new titles to expose students to. I think I have found one in this book. A very interesting, fast-paced story about an invisible boy and his new friendship with a blind girl. The boy's relationship with his parents I see many students totally relating to. I also see students learning a lot of important life lessons from this book. Life isn't fair but how we react to circumstances says a lot about our character. Life's uncertainties can also dictate our attitudes about it. Bobby gives his peers a positive example about how to deal with things out of our control.
I would have given this book 5 stars but it did get a little technical towards the end, almost sci-fiish. And even though the general plot is a bit far-fetched (after all, it is fiction) I still found myself wanting to find out how Bobby gets out of this mess he is in. A quick, easy, and fun read for middle and high school students.
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on June 28, 2002
THINGS NOT SEEN cannot be judged by a summary. The plot is simple: boy wakes up invisible, makes friends with blind girl, learns how to cope with situation. It's a Kindergarten idea...we've all talked about what we'd do if, for one day, we could be invisible. But Andrew Clements takes the idea further. Suppose it wasn't just one day? Suppose you still had substance? Suppose you had to keep it a secret? Suppose you had to keep yourself hidden from the world for weeks on end? THINGS NOT SEEN is the story of a boy who begins to see who he really is when no one can see him at all. Andrew Clements once again amazes us with his powerful way of making his readers part of the story, questioning what they thought they knew all alog.
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on January 8, 2005
I am sixteen years old and still enjoy this book every time I read it. I believe it should have won some kind of award for the incredible techniques the author Andrew Clements used to write this book. Towards the end of the book, I always cry when the main charactor, Bobby, reads the poem his blind girlfriend writes called Basement Room. This book is filled with symbolic elements and I would reconmend it to anyone who is reading this review. This book is incredibly well written and is definatly a page-turner. It's perfect for any adolecent.
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on November 17, 2002
Bobby Phillips has always had the feeling of being invisible around his parents and his peers. One morning however, he wakes up and finds out that this nightmare has come true. He is actually incapable of seeing himself! He is only able to tell his parents for the fear that if anyone else would find out this would become a nationwide publicity scandal. One day at the library he meets a young girl by the name of Alicia. Bobby soon realizes that Alicia is blind so she is not aware of his condition. They start to become friendly and one day Bobby lets her in on his secret. After a while Alicia's parents are let in on what is happening and both of their fathers' begin to formulate a reasonable theory for this occurence. As time passes on Bobby's school becomes involved and he becomes labeled as a missing child. Therefore, his parents must begin to work quickly to come up with a solution. If you'd like to find out how this story ends and if Bobby is ever visible again, read it to find out! I think that this is a great fantasy chapter book. It involves the ideas of how young teenagers sometimes feel as though they actually are invisible and how they feel ignored at times. For Bobby, this showed him that wonderful, lasting friendships could actually occur even though he could not be seen by anyone around him. From both the perspective of Bobby and Alicia it gives the reader insight about not being able to see the world and not having the world able to see you. This novel also teaches a good moral which is that there are people surrounding us on a daily basis which we may constantly ignore. Nobody will ever truly realize how we impact other people's lives but after reading this book I would hope that we not as easily overlook people with whom we have encounters with because one simple smile from a stranger may make their day and make them feel as though they have a place in the world.
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on July 16, 2004
Andrew Clements puts lots of suspense and emotions into this wonderful book. This book portays strong feelings of friendship, anger, sadness, love and a jumble of other emotions between a boy named Bobby Phillips; a blind girl named Alicia and their families. Bobby wakes up one morning and starts his everyday routine, but when he gets out of the shower he notices- or -more or less- it's what he doesn't notice, his body in the mirror! He sees nothing. He's invisible. He tells his parents and since his father is a science whiz they try to figure out how to get him back to normal. It takes Bobby a while to get used to it and along the way bumps into a blind girl named Alicia VanDorn. Eventually he confides in her his secret- and, of course, her parents find out to! They and their parents team up to solve Bobby's problem. Bobby and Alicia become close friends and Bobby becomes infatuated with her. They work secretly without their parents to devise a plan and find the cause of his condition. Will they succeed, and just how close will Bobby and Alicia become? I'm not gonna tell ya! You'll have to read the book to find out.
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