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by Ian Whybrow

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-8234-1972-X
Publisher: Holiday House

A British-style farce with some serious undercurrents, this features a pair of classmates with very different characters, who form an unlikely alliance when one turns himself invisible. Quiet Nicky has perfected the art of keeping a low profile, even to the point of deliberately missing test questions so as not to stand out—but it’s his borderline-ADHD neighbor Oliver who inadvertently manages to take the next step, with a swami’s mantra copped from an old magazine article. At once exhilarated and frightened, Oliver acts out with a spree of outrageous pranks, even as he enlists Nicky both to cover for him, and to help him get the magazine back from an unscrupulous uncle. Whybrow declines to give Oliver a taste for voyeurism, so this is closer in spirit to Andrew Clements’s Things Not Seen (2002) than to Robert Cormier’s Fade (1988), and not only do the two lads help each other out in the clutch (and solve some problems in their respective families, too), they turn out to be healthy influences on each other. The action-packed plot even comes with a car chase, but it’s the protagonists’ inner changes that are likely to leave the deepest impression on readers. (Fantasy. 10-12)