Things Not Seen
Andrew Clements (Young Adult Science Fiction)
Did you ever wish that you were invisible or could just become invisible—even for a day? Well that’s what happened to Robert “Bobby” Phillips one morning. He goes to bed an average, normal fifteen-year-old boy and wakes up invisible. There’s no explanation for it, although his physicist father knows that something doesn’t happen without a reason. But how can this possibly happen? What could have caused this? Promising to keep his “condition” secret, Bobby and his parents frantically search for a cause and a cure because a boy that suddenly vanishes won’t go unnoticed for long. But then Bobby meets Alicia, a blind girl he literally bumps into at the library. Surely his secret would be safe with her? After all, Bobby needs to share this with someone and maybe she can help because time is quickly running out.
Things Not Seen is the first of three books in the “Things” series by Andrew Clements. In this installment, we are introduced to Bobby and his sarcastic yet devoted love interest Alicia Van Dorn. This book has just enough science to make it a true science fiction, but not too much to bog down the story and lose reader interest. Clements also gives us the standard fare of teenage angst: wanting acceptance from peers, craving independence from parents, and longing for a bit of attention from the opposite sex. The need for acknowledgment, approval, and acceptance is truly universal, but these feelings are personified effectively through Bobby’s invisibility.
Throughout the book, we see Bobby’s new condition force an emotional awakening and maturity upon him. What was a pleasant surprise was the evolution of his relationship with his parents (and vice versa). Things Not Seen is a wonderful reminder that parents don’t always have the answers, and sometimes in order to really “see” someone, you simply just need to close your eyes and open your heart.
* Book cover image attributed to www.amazon.com