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Invisible Hardcover – June 1, 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Hardcover, June 1, 2005
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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up–Seventeen-year-old Dougie takes everything literally, lacks social graces, and is a loner, except, perhaps, for his one friend, athletic and popular Andy Morrow. But readers know almost immediately that something tragic has happened in the recent past: "Andy and I had some bad luck with fires when we were kids. We're more careful now." Other students feel threatened by Dougie's disturbing behavior and react by targeting him with cruelty and violence, which only serves to escalate his descent into unreality, isolation, and obsession. The teen has been working for nearly three years on his model railroad set, using 22,400 headless matches to build a bridge connecting portions of the "Madham Line." As his life deteriorates, this obsession and his nightly talks with Andy are the only things that keep him clinging to normalcy. He resists the help of his psychiatrist and hides his medication. Ultimately, he is forced to remember what actually happened on that fateful night. With its excellent plot development and unforgettable, heartbreaking protagonist, this is a compelling novel of mental illness.–Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. It's hard to tell if Hautman meant this to be a mystery, but it's clear from the start that there's something not right about the relationship between narrator Doug Hanson and his best friend, Andy Morrow. Doug, a self-proclaimed nerd, is primarily interested in building a matchstick replica of the Golden Gate Bridge for his model railway town. Andy is popular, a football player and actor. But the boys live next door to each other and talk from their bedroom windows at night. In an almost robotic voice that still manages to be intensely insightful, Doug takes readers to his school, where he is mocked and eventually beaten, and to his neighborhood, where he turns into a Peeping Tom, watching school star Melanie Haver undress. Hautman does a superb job of crafting the odd sanctuary that is Doug's mind. But Doug's defenses are crumbling, and the secret he's been keeping about Andy is oozing through the cracks. The truth about Andy won't come as a surprise, but there are some unexpected plot turns here, and the chilling but ambiguous denouement is definitely unsettling. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689868006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689868009
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,314,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on March 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Pete Hautman's Invisible focuses on Doug Hanson, a seventeen-year-old boy who is considered a nerd. In this mysterious and tense novel Doug is bullied by other boys and the girls think he is weird. Doug's hobby is building a huge model train track that almost fills his whole basement. Throughout all of this, Andy, his best friend, encourages him and shares similar interests; only he is a cool, popular football player. Every time Doug mentions Andy, his parents look at each other. Doug doesn't understand why he is sent to therapy and given pills that make him unclear and sleepy all the time. Through the story Doug tries to conceal an event that happened to Andy and him a few years before. The story is finally uncovered, and Doug's life changes forever.

I enjoyed this book because it kept me reading and reading. After I finished it, I couldn't stop thinking about the twisty ending. It was an easy read, but keeps you involved and thinking. I think it is a good level for eleven through fourteen year old girls and boys who like realistic fiction.
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Format: Hardcover
This comes in as one of my favorite YA reads published in 2005. There is brilliance, elegance, and genius in simplicity, and Pete Hautman's Invisible exemplifies this maxim. Despite the fact that it is less than 150 pages long, with a large font and short chapters, Invisible covers years of events, actions, and emotions with remarkable clarity.

Teenaged Doug Hanson is a freak--he stares inappropriately at girls, he is despised by his classmates, he has a fascination with fire, he dwells on various ways of death (fire vs. freezing), and he can produce nothing in art class other than repeated versions of his signet. The only person who understands Doug is his next door neighbor, the popular football player Andy, Doug and Andy chat through their windows at night, and Andy advises his friend not to be so risky with his habit of spying on girls in their bedrooms. Too bad Doug's parents and his therapist think he's talking to himself when he converses with Andy.

Invisible is a brilliant look inside the man of a troubled teen, one who has criminal incidents in his past, no friends in the present, and an absolute obsession with both model trains and pyrotechnics. The narrative voice of this novel is pure poetry.
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Format: Hardcover
cover is striking (haha) but it doesn't give you a clue just how truely disturbed this kid is. another reviewer said this book would be a great book-talk and oh how right his is!!

although the book is predictable and the ending is almost christopher pike-ish (blah), this story delves deep into the guilt ridden psyche and delivers a burning (haha, sorry couldn't resist) and complex narrative.

dougie is obviously insane, his parents are odd (which makes me wonder if this is hereditary) and one wonders why andy would still talk to such a freak. i can't say i wouldn't have reacted in a similar fashion (even including the beat-up) if i caught a guy like that looking in my window.

dougie's fixation on anything but the real issues is sad, and reading about his freakish behavior is like staring at a car wreck.

this book is a great read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Oh trouble set me free

I have seen your face

And it's too much too much for me


Oh trouble can't you see

You're eating my heart away

And there's nothing much left of me"

--Cat Stevens, "Trouble"

Pete Hautman's INVISIBLE is going to make for one hot booktalk.

"My full and proper name is Douglas MacArthur Hanson. I am named after Douglas MacArthur, the famous general, who was a second cousin of my father's great-aunt. Everyone on my father's side is named after some famous person we are supposedly related to. My father's name is Henry Clay Hanson. Henry Clay was a politician who died before the Civil War. He was my grandfather's cousin's great-uncle. Or something like that. It goes on and on. Since my grandfather's name was George Washington Hanson, I guess I'm related to the father of our country too. Anyway, I'm glad I got named after a general instead of a politician. I think it makes me sound more respectable.

"Usually when I meet someone for the first time, I tell them my full and proper name. Then I say, 'But you can call me General.' Some people find this amusing. Andy always laughs. Sometimes he calls me General, just to tease me. I don't mind. I kind of like it. I am very easy to get along with.

"My mother would not agree with that. She finds me difficult. In fact, she thinks that I am troubled and disturbed. I find it troubling that she finds me disturbing, so she must be right.

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Format: Hardcover
Douglas MacArthur Hanlon has a lot of problems to contend with. He suffers from mental illness and his behavior is erratic, bizarre and even dangerous. In addition to the mental illness, he appears to have some autistic traits (autism is a neurobiological condition and NOT a mental illness) as well. His obsessiveness; special interests; narrow focus on his special interest and his extreme devotion to minute detail are typical of people with Asperger's Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum. He is also one of the most unappealing characters in creation.

The boy was close to a neighbor named Andy. Doug and Andy were inseparable friends who shared a morbid interest in fire. A fire in a treehouse shatters Doug's very existence and literally rocks his world. From that point on, he becomes obsessed with Andy. This obsession segues into other bizarre behavior, such as talking to himself. This problem escalates to the point where a neighbor complains Doug is keeping him awake at night. Doug coins the neologism "sigil," for "signature/initials" where he encrypts his initals into Andy's in a picture form. He insists on drawing this sigil on everything, much to the dismay of his art teacher.

His English teacher tells him to expand his interests and write papers on topics other than his special interest. Doug's attention to detail does have a plus side in that he has created a miniature village replete with a train made entirely out of matchsticks. He even has the number of matchsticks he needs and the measurements of the imaginary town figured out to the last fraction of an inch.

The boy's parents worry about him and have him seeing a psychiatrist. The doctor does not appear to be overly helpful and prescribes medication that knocks Doug out.
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