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Things That Are (Things Not Seen) Hardcover – September 18, 2008

23 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Things Not Seen Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Alicia's best friend, Bobby, has gone to New York to scout out colleges, and she realizes that sooner or later she is going to have to tell him that she wants more than just friendship. As she faces the possibility that he is leaving her behind, and is still dealing with her blindness, a new problem crops up. At one point Bobby became invisible, and now there is another invisible person named William stalking him. He follows Bobby home, FBI agents are dropping by, and Alicia wonders just what's going on. Does William just want to return to normal? Is the FBI trying to steal the technology to turn people invisible? Or is William the real threat? Alicia's internal monologues are long, repetitive, and stilted. The plot gathers steam near the end, but Alicia's constant angst over Bobby detracts from it. Their relationship does not seem to have grown any deeper at the end of the book other than the fact that they have kissed. The language and writing seem a little too simple for the YA crowd, but fans of Things Not Seen (2002) and Things Hoped For (2006, both Philomel) might enjoy this installment in the series.—Jennifer-Lynn Draper, Children's Literature Consultant, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In this sequel to Things Not Seen (2002) and Things Hoped For (2006), the action switches back to Chicago. Bobby’s blind friend Alicia narrates the story, in which Bobby returns from New York, trailed by the menacing invisible man. Meanwhile, as Alicia wonders if Bobby is ready to take their relationship to the next level, their fathers conduct secret scientific experiments in which lab mice are made invisible, then visible again, and the FBI hovers in a manner more unsettling than reassuring. Once again, Clements tells a riveting tale, made all the more intriguing by the choice of narrator, who experiences and describes the world differently because she cannot see. Alicia’s relationship with her guide dog (“Gertie’s wonderful, like a low-tech organ transplant”) is just one element that her blindness adds to the story without dominating it. As in the previous books, suspense and romance intertwine here, and the door is left open for more. Grades 7-10. --Carolyn Phelan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Series: Things Not Seen
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books (September 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399246916
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399246913
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,894 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A new book by Andrew Clements is a book which won't remain long unopened in my house, and this one I snapped up in one short afternoon. THINGS THAT ARE is Clements's third book in his YA series (after Things Not Seen and Things Hoped For) and reintroduces us to a world inhabited by invisible people. It's certainly a cool sci-fi concept, but this series is made even more captivating by the author's sensitive portrayal of his lead characters. Andrew Clements, a school teacher for many years, is mainly a writer of stories targeted for middle grade children, and he's quite wonderful at it. The THINGS... series is his stab at reaching a teen audience and, naturally, he emphatically succeeds. The caveat to all this, of course, is that his readership actually spans from those in childhood to those like me, who are this much closer to dotage. Pretty much anyone, however old, is susceptible to being ensnared by Andrew Clements' warm and perceptive brand of storytelling.

THINGS THAT ARE focuses squarely on Alicia Van Dorn, the teenaged blind girl so memorably featured in THINGS NOT SEEN, the first book in the series. In that book, Alicia proved to be as important a character as the main protagonist, Bobby Phillips. Her heartfelt letter to Bobby at the end of THINGS NOT SEEN is one of the best, most moving parts of that book. THINGS THAT ARE tracks two days in the lives of Alicia and Bobby. It begins shortly after the events in THINGS HOPED FOR, as Alicia awaits Bobby's return from his college auditions in New York (Bobby's a musician).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Burton on November 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
All the main characters (except Gwen), as well as some characters with smaller roles, return for this third book in the series. Even Shelia, who we met in the first book plays a part in this story. Things Not Seen was Bobby's story, Things Hoped for was Gwen's story and Things That Are is Alicia's story.

Alicia, who played a significant role in the first book and brief role in the second, is the voice for this third "things" book. Alicia, who became blind several years before she met Bobby, has been a favorite character in this series. Readers are finally able to experience how Alicia "sees" the world around her. I like that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is mentioned.

Things That Are, like Things Not Seen, is set in Chicago and picks up where Things Hoped For left off. Bobby is just returning from his New York auditions and Alicia is a little worried about all the time he spent with Gwen and how it will affect their relationship. Some of the reoccurring words which become themes in this book include: We, Us, Reality, Are, See and Lies.

A few surprises involving invisibility are contained in the pages of this book (that's all I'm going to write). Also a few things were a bit hard to believe. Suddenly Alicia has a German shepherd named Gertie who supposedly she's had for six months. I don't remember reading anything about it in Things Hoped For, but perhaps I overlooked it or maybe it just wasn't mentioned since Alicia's role was so small in that book. I won't mention my other two things that were hard to believe, because it would give too much away (but they have something to do with invisibility).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aletheia Knights on September 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Alicia, the blind girl who helped the invisible boy find his way in Andrew Clements's "Things Not Seen," is back with a story of her own. One day in the library, as she mulls over her newly awakened romantic feelings for Bobby, she is approached by an invisible man who tells her Bobby may be in danger. Alicia's new invisible acquaintance, William, may be in danger too - he's come to the attention of government authorities, and the FBI is hunting him down. Can Alicia help William, while keeping her own family - and Bobby - safe?

I enjoyed this novel, but with some reservations. Although it's based on a silly premise - that solar winds can cause people sleeping under a malfunctioning electric blanket to turn invisible - this is a thoughtful tale, with much to say about secrecy and honesty and trust, about what can be seen and what can be known. The storyline itself is ultimately rather weak; difficulties that seem insurmountable most of the way through the book literally disappear overnight. Throughout the novel, Alicia has a number of silly dialogues with herself that make it hard to take her seriously as a character, although her "Brain Fairy" alter ego does offer some of the novel's most intriguing insights ("you seem to think that there really is an actual future out there somewhere. And there's not. It's all *now*. No future, no past, only now. Yes, you will get to another time, because that's what seems to keep happening. But when you get there, guess what? It's still going to be *now*. Forget about some perfect future. That's not happening. Work on now. Because *now* is all you're ever going to have").
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