Now You See It . . .

Now You See It . . .

3.9 20
by Vivian Vande Velde

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Wendy isn't as blind as a bat--there are bats that can see better than she can. Which is why, when her new glasses break, she's all too happy to wear the dorky pair of sunglasses she finds on the lawn. They seem to match her prescription, and that's all that matters if she's going to be able to make it through her school day.

But the glasses correct her vision


Wendy isn't as blind as a bat--there are bats that can see better than she can. Which is why, when her new glasses break, she's all too happy to wear the dorky pair of sunglasses she finds on the lawn. They seem to match her prescription, and that's all that matters if she's going to be able to make it through her school day.

But the glasses correct her vision too much. She begins to see things that no one else can see: cheerful corpses, frightening crones disguised as teenyboppers, and portals to other worlds--places where people are all too aware of the magical properties of her new shades . . . and will do anything to get them.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Delightful . . . Vande Velde's sly humor and snappy dialogue make this story a joy to read."--School Library Journal

"[A] charming and funny fantasy . . . The plot playfully wanders all over the map; readers will likely get just as much enjoyment from Wendy's sly and self-deprecating humor as from the whimsical adventure itself."--Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
An utterly likable narrator gives a boost to Vande Velde's (Heir Apparent) charming and funny fantasy. Fifteen-year-old Wendy is plucky and upbeat despite having a "figure like a duffel bag" and being practically blind without her glasses. When a bully breaks her glasses at school, she resorts to wearing a pair of prescription sunglasses she found on her lawn-which, coincidentally, are a perfect match for her eyes. But the glasses do more than let her see: when she wears them, dead people talk to her, and Tiffanie, the prettiest girl in school turns into "the ugliest person in the world." The spectacles also reveal portals to a parallel world, one in which two elf brothers fight for the throne-and the son of one of them is living in the human world as Julian, on whom Wendy might just have a crush (though her glasses reveal his long, pointed ears). A time portal introduces her to her grandmother as a girl, who joins Wendy in her effort to rescue the recently imperiled Julian; they are aided by Tiffanie (the beautiful/ugly girl from Wendy's class), who turns out to be anything but a normal student. The plot playfully wanders all over the map; readers will likely get just as much enjoyment from Wendy's sly and self-deprecating humor as from the whimsical adventure itself. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, January 2005: Vande Velde is known for the fun and fantasy of her work, and her new novel follows in that vein. Wendy finds an unusual pair of sunglasses lying on her front lawn and with them she begins to see all sorts of things, including dead people, witches and an archway that leads to a parallel universe, one in which a prince is in great trouble. The glasses allow her to see that what she sees is not always what she thinks she sees. Wendy and her friend Shelley are typical high school sophomores, with crushes on classmates; now she is asked to save the elf prince. Her mother has remarried and along with a stepfather she has a "perfect" stepsister. She also has an attitude that is sly and witty and sometimes wrong, creating trouble with the authority figures in her real life and in Kazaran Dahaani. Her biggest point of contention in real life is a grandmother with Alzheimer's: why visit a woman who does not remember you? All these threads?—?the elf prince, the danger, the witch and the grandmother?—?are neatly interwoven into an impossible journey that rings true. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Harcourt, Magic Carpet, 273p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Janis Flint-Ferguson
Kirkus Reviews
With her customary wry humor and fast-paced storytelling, Vande Velde propels a myopic, unhappy teen into other times and worlds. Stunned to discover that one popular classmate, Tiphanie, is actually a hideous old witch (in trendy teen clothing-just picture it) hiding behind a glamour, and another, Julian, is an elf prince in disguise, Wendy flees through a suddenly visible gate into the elven land of Kazaran Dahaani. She stays just long enough to see Julian captured by thugs, then stumbles back into her own world-only it's 1953. There, she falls in with her own grandma, Helen, and in no time (so to speak) finds herself a reluctant member of a rescue expedition, following Helen, Tiphanie, and Henry-a tiny, compulsively mischievous "spreenie" with a big libido and a small attention span-to a dragon's cave where Julian has been caged. A brisk but nonfatal dustup ensues, after which Wendy gets back to her old life, now better able to cope with her mother's remarriage, and her grandma's Alzheimer's. Readers will be more captivated by the deliciously twisty plot and lively supporting cast, though, than by Wendy's personal issues. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.50(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.62(d)
950L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


One way to look at what happened is that everything is the fault of my optometrist and his enthusiasm for those miserable eyedrops that make your eyes supersensitive to light. But if I've learned one thing from all this, it's that there's generally more than one way to look at anything.

So, from the beginning, a few points to remember:

(1) Without glasses, I can't see farther away than about a foot and a half beyond the tip of my nose.

(2) Glasses may improve someone's seeing, but they've never improved anyone's looks.

Sure, parents, grandparents, and eyeglass salesmen will assure you that you're cute as a button with your glasses on-if what you want to look like is a cute button, though that's not my idea of a big selling point. But in any case, what's the first thing a movie director does to a gorgeous actress when he needs her to look plain for a role?

I've been bugging my mom for contact lenses since about when I was in kindergarten and realized exactly how stupid glasses made me look. That was when I got my first hint that boys don't go for girls who wear glasses-when Nicholas Bonafini, the most popular boy in kindergarten, ran into the LEGO tower I'd spent the last fifteen minutes building, turned around, looked at me, and said, "You're dumb."

It was the glasses, I'm convinced.

Mom is sure I wouldn't take proper care of contact lenses and is worried my eyeballs would rot and fall out as a result. She says I can get contact lenses when I'm eighteen, which is another three years. Eighteen. Big deal. At eighteen, people are considered old enough to vote, move away from home, get a credit card, join the army, and/or get married. Not that anybody wants to marry someone who wears stupid glasses.

(3) I hate those eye doctor eyedrops.

They sting. They make my eyes water, which makes my mascara run, which makes the doctor lecture against the evils of eye makeup (a lecture I've already gotten from Mom). And they make me look stupider than even glasses make me look.

Eye doctors like eyedrops either because you have to be a certifiable sadist to go into the business (I'm convinced that's what half those certificates on their office walls say), or because the drops make your pupils big enough the doctor gets a chance to see to the back of your brain.

While slightly big pupils give girls a kind of doe-eyed innocence, which-while not my first choice-isn't the worst of all possible looks, huge pupils that only leave a tiny rim of iris showing give girls a what-the-heck's-wrong-with-her? look that's only appealing to drug pushers and eye doctors.

So the eyedrops sting going in, then they make you look and feel like you're auditioning for a role in Return of the Mole People, and-isn't this a nice touch?-the effects last a good ten or twelve hours. Even indoors in Rochester, New York-where, by the way, gray days were invented-the afternoon light is too bright for someone who's had eyedrops.

Plus, as a bonus side effect, with your pupils that big, your close-up vision evaporates. In fact, you can no longer focus on anything that's closer to you than about a foot and a half away.

Refer back to points one and two.


So, my mother was driving me home from my eye doctor appointment, and I was not pleased. My prescription had not changed, meaning I was stuck with the same ugly glasses I had picked last year. (Yes, I picked them, but how can you tell how bad glasses look when-without the lenses in-you can't see as far away as the mirror? Besides, my mother refuses to buy designer frames, claiming it's against her principles to pay as much for glasses as it would cost to fly the designer to our house to see me in them. My mother is prone to exaggeration.)

I didn't own sunglasses because, in Rochester, there's only about five days in the whole year that you need sunglasses-and the majority of those days are for snow glare rather than actual sunlight. The eye doctor had offered me a pair of construction-paper-and-plastic-film sunglasses about as classy as the ones you get at the 3-D attractions at Disney World, except without the Disney characters. You'd think for what an eye doctor charges, he could give you glasses that don't look as though they cost about fourteen cents a gross.

I'd declined the sunglasses and instead kept my eyes closed as Mom led me out of the doctor's office and to the car. But by the time we pulled into the driveway at home, her patience was wearing thin. She gets that way sometimes. When, as she stopped the car, I told her she might want to seriously consider buying a Seeing Eye dog for me for these annual checkups, she told me to stop sulking.

"No, no, that's all right," I said, flinging my arms up to protect my abused eyeballs from the piercing rays of the sun. "If Helen Keller could manage, I suppose I can, too."

"Oh, Wendy," Mom sighed in a tone like it was my fault I couldn't see. She headed for the house, abandoning me in the front yard.

I staggered across the lawn, alternating between having my eyes tightly closed for maximum protection against the light, and peeking through my fingers for maximum protection against walking into a tree.

The glint of something in the grass caught my attention, which was a wonder no matter how you look at it: I'd given Mom my glasses to carry in her purse, and without them and with my eyes watering I was lucky I could make out my feet.

I leaned over and saw a pair of mirrored sunglasses.

Normally, I would have kept on walking. About 10 percent of the people who wear mirrored sunglasses look really cool. The other 90 percent look like jerks trying to look cool.

But I figured that squinting and staggering around the front yard was doing nothing for me in the cool-looks department, anyway, so I picked them up. I knew they didn't belong to anybody in our household. Our household used to consist of me and my mother. Now you have to add my mother's current husband, Bill, and-on a part-time basis-my wicked stepsister, Bill's daughter, Gia. She lives with us during the week and with her mother on weekends. The nicest thing I have to say about her is that I get along best with her on weekends. Our friends-Gia's and my separate friends-all know, as our parents can't quite seem to grasp, that our being the same age is not a fortunate coincidence.

We live right across the street from Highland Park, and even though the Lilac Festival wasn't until the following week, a lot of people who are more interested in the lilacs than in the bands and the craft booths and the fried dough come early to beat the crowds. I figured one of these lilac enthusiasts had dropped the sunglasses, and I squinted up and down the sidewalk to see if any likely looking person might have just lost them. Nobody. At least not within my admittedly limited range of sight. So I put them on, figuring that would make finding our front door easier.

My eyeballs were instantly happier. The sunglasses cut out all the glare. And the lenses gave everything a nice pinkish glow, even the statue our next-door neighbor Mrs. Freelander put up by her front stoop in memory of her beloved, dearly departed Pekingese dog of twenty-five years ago, Mr. Tassels. The glasses made the lilacs across the street look stunning. The park has hundreds of varieties of lilacs in shades of dark purple, light purple, bluish purple, pink, and-if I hadn't been wearing those rosy glasses-white. The lenses made them all look gorgeous. I could see an archway among the lilac bushes, which was probably something the festival committee had just put up because I'd never seen it before. It looked like stone though it was more likely granite-colored Styrofoam. Pretty. Everything looked pretty.

"Wendy!" my mother called from inside the house. "Dinner's almost ready!"

I ran up to our front door and was greeted by Bill, who apparently has stronger parental instincts than my own mother, for he seemed to be there specifically to find out what had happened to me.

"Nice shades," he commented, opening the screen door for me.

"Somebody lost them in our front yard," I said.

Mom, heading for the kitchen, detoured to pluck the glasses off my face, saying, "Eww. Germs, Wendy." She held them away from her with an expression like she was holding a pooper-scooper bag.

I squinted against the bright light in the front hall and realized, now that the glasses were off my face, that they must have been prescription lenses, and that they must have been pretty close to my own prescription-or I'd never have been able to see Bill, much less the archway across the street.

"Set the table, dear," Mom said, which I guess just went to prove dinner wasn't nearly as almost ready as she'd led me to believe.

"My eyes, my eyes," I groaned, and Bill was the one who took pity on me.

"Gia," he called, "set the table."

"Not my turn," the wicked stepsister yelled back from the living room, where she was getting life tips from the afternoon talk shows.

"Do it anyway," her father said.

Gia came, curling her lip at me when our parents weren't looking. Even without my glasses, I could see that.

"Your glasses are in my purse," Mom told me.

But I didn't need them indoors. I was used to getting around the house without the benefit of being able to see much.

I went up to my room and reapplied the mascara the eyedrops had washed away and didn't think again about the sunglasses until the next day.

Copyright © 2005 by Vande Velde, Vivian

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Meet the Author

Vivian Vande Velde has written many books for teen and middle grade readers, including Heir Apparent, User Unfriendly, All Hallow's Eve: 13 Stories, Three Good Deeds, Now You See It ..., and the Edgar Award–winning Never Trust a Dead Man. She lives in Rochester, New York. Visit her website at

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Now You See It... 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
-Katerina- More than 1 year ago
Wendy's world changes a lot when she finds a pair of sunglasses that let her see things she couldn't before - such as ghosts, witches without their disguises, elves, blue troublemaking spreenies, portals that travel between realms and can take you back in time when you don't know how to work them correctly. This new look into life brings her closer with her grandma as she gets to meet & work with a younger version of her grandma to help save Julian a schoolmate/elf who was kidnapped. Teaches lessons such as not to judge based on appearances or jump to conclusions without all of the facts, and that you never know how brave you can be till the situation arises and you are faced with the decision on how to react. This book made me start to look at my surroundings and the individuals in my life in a different way to try to appreciate others more and not to loose focus on what is around me in my surroundings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now You See It by Vivian Vande Velde is a story about a fifteen-year old girl named Wendy that is plucky and is blind without her glasses, Julian who is a boy that has a crush on Wendy, Gia who is Wendy's sister who is wicked, and does not like Wendy. Wendy's life completely changes when she finds a pair of glasses on the lawn of her house. The glasses let her see and hear dead people. When she wears them to school she notices that the prettiest girl in the school is the ugliest girl on earth, she also notices that Julian who has a crush on her is an elf. They both find out that Wendy found out about them so they chased her until they caught her. The glasses bring her dead grandma who she didn't know get closer than they were.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is okay in some ways. I never stopped reading it, but nothing ever caught my eye. I'm not a huge fan of fantacy, but if you love fantacy, you'd love it! I would recommend it for children aged 8-12.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Now you see it' is a book that's unpredictable. Some parts are really funny as you get deeper into the book. It's definately, worth the time to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Now You See It¿ by Vivian Vande Velde is a fabulous book full of adventure and comedy, daring people, kidnap, magical sunglasses, evil, and magic. Wendy is a nearsighted who stumbles upon these magical sunglasses which allow her to see the unusual and oddly enough¿ clearly. For example, the most popular and prettiest in school is butt ugly with the glasses, and an already cute boy looks even cuter with elf ears. But Wendy stumbles upon a magical gate too and ends up in a magical world full of dragons, elves, and many other things. Out of a scale from 1 to 10 I give this 9. People of any age will love this book if they are into Adventure and funny stories. This book is pure fiction with twists of everyday life. For example, Wendy is a High school teenager and her grandmother is in a nursing home and can¿t take care of herself as she fights off Alzheimer¿s. IT is fiction because you can not se ghosts with a eye. Wendy could see ghosts with the glasses on and watched an old lady pass on into the light. Tiffany, the most popular in school suddenly looks old and ugly. Julian, an already cute boy, looks even cuter with the glasses on as he has pointy ears. The Author has an amazing style of writing as she Tells Wendy¿s story from a first person point of view.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Now You See it¿ By: Vivian Vande Velde This story is about a young girl, Wendy, who finds magical sunglasses. When she puts on the glasses she can see dead people and she can also see what her fellow classmates actually look like and this leads to following occurrences like attempts to take the glasses by classmates. At first she doesn¿t know what to think of it and she guesses she sees dead things. After a while she finds much more about the glasses but you will have to read to find out. In my opinion I thought this book started out real slow but started to pick up after a while. I¿d say that it would appeal to older kids and mostly girls but I¿m not saying that they appeal to only girls I read it and I¿m a boy and it was pretty good. So I¿d say the theme is that people aren¿t always the same as there outside. This book was ok as you can see by the rating
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the book Now You See It by Vivian Vande Velde. The book is about a girl named Wendy who finds magical sunglasses in her front yard. She puts them on and Tiffanie, the most popular girl in school, becomes a 90-year-old lady. Also, Julian, the boy she likes all of a sudden has pointy ears. They chase her until she crosses through a magical archway and into a place that is ruled by elves. If I had to rate this book I would give it a 2 out of 5 because it isn¿t very well written in my opinion. It has a good plot but the way she laid it out confused me. I don¿t understand why the girl ended up in the 1950s when she wanted to go back to her own house. Overall this is a not so good book but I would recommend it to boys and girls ages 7-14 although I mostly recommend it to girls because the main character is a girl. When Julian is captured Wendy must save him and a dragon attacks them. I think the theme of this book is appreciate the ones you love while you still have them
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is beyond good.It is a twist between a love,fantasy,comedy and suspense book.One of my favorites.I only hope that there will be a sequel or movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is GREAT! Vivian Vande Velde really did well!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found it in the library which I normally can't find anything in and thought it looked interesting. But it's beyond interesting it's awesome. How quirky Wendy is and how the twist at the end of the story plays it is just so cool. I definitly recommend it to any of you who love adventure, mystery, and fantsy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed all of the humor and drama!! It is a great read!! I would recommend it to alot of people!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Now You See It... keeps you going and doesn't stop for a moment. Ms. Velde did a awesome job once more with her book. The book's fanstay/reality, brings the book to have even more life. Well, I hope you pick this book up and read it. And enjoy it too! ( :
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wendy leads a pretty normal life: she goes to school, see's her friends, and doesn't like most popular kids. But one day her new glasses break and when she notices a pair of sunglasses on her lawn she's much too pleased to wear them. For some reason the glasses seem to match her perscription..a little too much. She starts seeing weird things like her fellow classmates having elf ears or long noses. She even steps into another world! A world she must save. With the great help of Eleni she manages to save the hidden world, make some great friends, and protect her world from knowing the secrets.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't like this book at all. It was poorly written and really easy. I mean she finds glasses and sees dead people! OMG! It is such a simple plot line I'm not even joking. The athuor, has poorly written it I can read fast and love books for me to say it's bad is something, so this is my thought on the book so if you like it it's not for me to say because my frineds loved it. Though I hated it, so I wouldn't read it again to save my life.