Things Not Seen

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Things Not Seen
TNS platinum.jpg
Author Andrew Clements
Country United States
Language English
Genre Realistic fiction
Publisher Philomel Books, Puffin
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover, paperback)
ISBN 0-399-23626-0
OCLC 45790952
LC Class PZ7.C59118 Tgm 2002
Followed by Things Hoped For, Things That Are

Things Not Seen is a first-person novel written by Andrew Clements and his third novel after Frindle and The Landry News. The story revolves around Bobby as he deals with his 'disease', tries to get back to normal, and even befriends a blind girl. The title is apparently taken from Hebrews 11:1,"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." in the King James Version of the Bible. The book was originally released in 2002 by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Group, but was re-released in 2006 as a platinum edition by Puffin. The platinum edition includes a short interview with Andrew Clements and a redesigned cover.

This book was followed by two sequels, Things Hoped For and Things That Are.


Robert Phillips, known by his nickname "Bobby", wakes up one day to find that he can no longer see himself. Then, to make sure he was right he looked in the mirror and could not see himself. Upon discovery, he heads downstairs and tries to convince his parents that it's not a trick. He drinks a glass of orange juice, which to the astonishment of his parents, seems to make a "spoon float in the air." After a brief argument with his mother, Bobby is told to stay at home until his parents get back from work (his mother is an English professor, and his father a scientist). After his parents are gone, Bobby heads to the library, bundled up to conceal his secret invisible self, and after a brief walk around, he hurriedly leaves, bumping into a girl. His scarf comes off so he's scared she will freak out. He helps to retrieve her things, and realizes she's blind when he hands her back her cane. Upon returning home, he gets in trouble because he left the house. His parents leave to get dinner and Bobby watches TV and takes a nap. When he wakes up, the TV says that there was a major three car crash. He sees one of the cars is his family's car. The police then come to his door and check on him. After they leave Bobby goes to the hospital to see his parents. When he gets there he takes off his clothes (so he can be invisible) and goes to find his parents. He can only find his Mom. After talking to his Mom he uses money she gave him to get a taxi and he goes home. He returns to the library the next day. He goes naked this time, and stumbles upon the blind girl in a listening room. He enters the room with her permission and they start talking. He learns that her name is Alicia, and befriends her. Part of Bobby's journey to become visible involves invading the Sears-Roebuck corporate headquarters. During which he steals a list of names of people who previously complained to Sears-Roebuck about a "bad blanket". Bobby uses this list to locate Sheila Borden, who became invisible a few years prior to the events in the book. She tells him never to tell anyone who she is. Bobby tells Alicia, however. Later Bobby instant messages Alicia. Bobby wants to give up on finding a cure, but Alicia has a bright idea. She tells him that two negatives make a positive. So, if he gets his blanket and sleeps with it, his problem will probably be reversed. Bobby crawls under the blanket. He awakens to find several loud voices. Ms.Phillips, his mother, and a random agent come into his room. Bobby doesn't realize that he is visible now, with several people staring at him naked. He quickly covers up. And his mom says that he came back from his extended trip to Florida the night before. His dad is happy that he is back, but is mad he didn't think before acting. Later he goes to tell Alicia the news. She doesn't take it well, feeling that Bobby will leave her alone now that he can go to school. Bobby goes home and tries to instant message her. Finally, she replies with an e-mail and a poem. Bobby goes over to her house to tell her how much he loves her.

Main characters[edit]

  • Bobby Phillips - Main character, turns invisible
  • Alicia Van Dorin - A blind girl who befriends Bobby
  • Emily Phillips - Bobby's mother
  • Mrs. Van Dorin - Alicia's mother
  • Dr. David Phillips - Bobby's dad, a professor
  • Shelia - Victim of also being invisible
  • Mr. Van Dorin - A philosopher, Alicia's dad


The book won the 2005 Middle School/Junior High California Young Reader Medal.[1]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]