Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Title from Andrew Clements

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Title from Andrew Clements

Article excerpt

Byline: BRANDY HILBOLDT ALLPORT

When a popular author publishes a new book, it's always a cause for celebration. Especially when the author is consistently good. Andrew Clements is one of those writers, and his Things That Are is now available. It's a companion novel to Clements' 2002 title Things Not Seen.

Let's review for a minute. In Things Not Seen, 15-year-old Bobby discovers that he is invisible. As his father, a physicist, struggles to find a cure for the situation, his mother works out a story that will sound plausible to truant officers. Meanwhile, Bobby ventures out of the house for some shenanigans that are possible for those who can't be seen.

In the new book, Things That Are, Bobby is back - and visible - but this time the protagonist in the story is Alicia, a blind girl Bobby met at the library in Things Not Seen.

It turns out that Alicia's father, who is also a scientist, has been working with Bobby's dad on the invisibility issue. All experiments must be top secret. (Imagine what the government might want you to do if they found out you could make living matter invisible.) Soon after Bobby and Alicia discover what their dads are doing, the FBI comes knocking at Alicia's house.

An invisible man. The FBI. A rigged electric blanket that affects the invisibility process. Even with these improbable elements, Clements does his usual, masterful job of maintaining suspense. The supernatural element doesn't distract from the story, which is a tribute to Clements' deftness with plot construction and his ability to develop believable characters. Though fans won't want to miss Things That Are, boys might find the plot about Alicia's crush on Bobby a bit mushy.

Clements' other books for kids ages 9 to 14 include Frindle, Lunch Money, No Talking, Lost and Found, The Report Card, The Janitor's Boy and The Landry News.

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