Things Not Seen

January 27, 2009

Science Fiction / Fantasy
By Andrew Clements
Reviewed by Heidi R.
Rated 5 out of 5 Stars

“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 not what I see.] 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.”

Bobby Phillips wakes up one morning, looks in the mirror, and can’t see himself. His parents also are unable to see him. No, they didn’t all go blind. Bobby is just invisible. The family decides to keep this a secret; they don’t want the media to find out. What’s worse than having your picture on the news and in the morning paper? Having your invisible picture there. Bobby’s parents are both professors at the nearby college. His dad, a major in physics, immediately begins to formulate theorems about the cause of this spontaneous invisibility, how long it will last, and if it is possible to reverse. The clothes Bobby wears are not invisible, and if he stands too close to a wall, there is a shadow. To make matters worse, Bobby’s parents are in an accident just days after he becomes invisible. The school begins to wonder about his absence; no one has seen him for over a week. His parents are unable to provide a doctor’s note or excuse, and the government begins trying to track him down. The Child Protection Agency gets on his case and starts to pester Mr. and Mrs. Phillips on his whereabouts. They are given five days to show Bobby to them, or else they will face arrest. He must become visible again.

This book is exciting, intriguing, funny, fast paced, and easy to get in to. Andrew Clements does a great job of grabbing the reader’s attention and keeping it. This book is very imaginative, but it presents the reality of not being seen by others. Before Bobby became invisible, he wasn’t really noticed by his classmates. He finds that he can do almost anything without being noticed, but also feels left out and like an outsider. It is set in the present day in Chicago, and begins on February 23, the date he become invisible. The ending is very touching, but not cheesy.

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