Thursday, December 1, 2011
Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements Review
Andrew Clements middle grade novels rule, so I decided I should read this. I'm glad I did.
Loner teens in middle or high school commonly comment that they feel invisible. Clements took the story of an average fifteen year old guy, Bobby Phillips, who feels that way even though he has a small social group, and one day wakes up invisible. He doesn't know what to do, so his Dad instantly theorizes. But since he's invisible he can't do regular stuff he normally does, like go to school or even put on clothes (oh my gosh, an invisible naked guy running around Chicago, everybody run!). He hates as the book goes on getting used to being invisible and fears he'll never again be normal. If he's invisible forever then he'll never get his own life, his parents will do everything for him. He just wants to be free, even though invisibility offers you some freedom. He adjusts to his invisibility, and is able to make a friend, a blind girl named Alicia. Alicia has few friends and hates being blind. She just wants it to be the way it was two years before when she could see, the doctors saying she can't be cured.
Bobby is a truly normal person.. It's like you could walk into a high school and see him hanging out with his friends and playing trumpet. He doesn't like being naked, honestly hates it. He also hates just being invisible, his life being pretty much gone. He likes being Alicia's friend, she's the only person he feels comfortable being with anymore.
Alicia may be blind, but that doesn't stop her from trying to live a normal life. She hates how everyone sees her as needing special attention just for being blind. There was a scene where she and (invisible) Bobby walk into a Starbucks and the line at the register moves to let her through. It's also described her white cane is like a magic wand that makes everyone feel sorry for her. She finally makes her second true friend in Bobby (let me rephrase: Alicia has two friends, only two friends.). She hates that her mom left her job to help her. She remains strong even though she's blind. Clements doesn't sugarcoat anything, this is spot on to how blind people often feel.
One touching scene was when Bobby and Alicia were at the Sears HQ and Alicia was pretending to get a job there. Bobby sees and learns how Alicia felt, that she has her own life and wants to be able to get a job, then she truly learned she could get one, Alicia having a new hope. Blind people aren't just blind, they're also people.
The side characters like Bobby's parents are all very realistic. It's like you could walk to your neighbors and your neighbors would be them.
The science is amazingly accurate and seems very possible. Unlike most YA books who either have no science behind what happened or incorrect science or correct science but lacking other parts necessary to be truly accurate. What if people really could become invisible like it was described in this book?
It also answers real life questions such as what it would like to be blind or invisible. Clements makes it real, like people become invisible every day. It really wouldn't be fun, and you'd probably become a lab rat who'd help perfect making people invisible. What if people could become invisible? Invisible criminals, police, soldiers, it'd be 1984! Clements made a good point on that.
I had a few problems with some of the book's incorrect grammar, but there was few, so otherwise it was a good book. It's definitely worth five stars.
I'm glad there are YA books like this that help people really see a strong, blind girl as she really is. Being blind is hard and I'm glad people can read about how they really struggle.