Things Hoped For

Things Hoped For

4.2 83
by Andrew Clements

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Seventeen-year-old Gwen is preparing to audition for New York City’s top music schools when her grandfather mysteriously disappears, leaving Gwen only a phone message telling her not to worry. But there’s nothing more stressful than practicing for her auditions, not knowing where her grandfather is, and being forced to lie about his whereabouts when her

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Seventeen-year-old Gwen is preparing to audition for New York City’s top music schools when her grandfather mysteriously disappears, leaving Gwen only a phone message telling her not to worry. But there’s nothing more stressful than practicing for her auditions, not knowing where her grandfather is, and being forced to lie about his whereabouts when her insistent great-uncle demands an audience with him. Then Gwen meets Robert, also in town for music auditions, and the two pair up to brave the city without supervision. As auditions approach and her great-uncle becomes more aggressive, Gwen and Robert make a startling discovery. Suddenly Gwen’s hopes are turned upside down, and she and Robert are united in ways neither of them could have foretold. . . .

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Not since Frindle has Clements's writing achieved such near perfect pitch.

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Publishers Weekly
Clements hits no false notes in this beguiling sequel to Things Not Seen. Narrator Gwen left her West Virginia home two years earlier to live with her ailing grandfather in Manhattan to attend a music academy on scholarship. The disciplined 17-year-old plays her violin many hours each day, practicing for auditions for a prestigious music college. But her attention is diverted when she receives a phone message from Grampa, who says he is going away for awhile and that Gwen should carry on and tell no one about his disappearance especially his brother (who co-owns the building in which he and Gwen live and is trying to pressure Grampa into selling it). After she meets Robert (the temporarily invisible Bobby from Things Not Seen), Gwen senses she has found a kindred spirit in this kind, trumpet-playing teen who shares her musical aspirations. She tells him her secret and, after the two notice a man's shadow that has no visible body casting it, Robert confides to her the story of his experience turning invisible. The novel's mysterious strain reaches a crescendo when Robert, in a heartstopping scene, opens the basement freezer looking for steaks and finds something else instead. In her credible, likable voice, Gwen observes that she wants her complicated story to have a tidy ending with "that wonderful last burst of symphonic harmony." This haunting novel's denouement has just that. Not since Frindle has Clements's writing achieved such near perfect pitch. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Agent, Writers House. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Nicole Peterson
Gwen is a senior in one of the best music high schools in the nation. She is living with her grandfather in New York City and has a promising musical career. One day just before Gwen's auditions for one of the top music universities, Gwen's grandfather disappears. This is where Gwen's adventures truly begin. This realistic novel is thought provoking for all ages. The story takes the reader through all the emotions including happiness, jealousy, longing, love, grief, and fear. The book talks about difficult topics, including suicide, disabilities, and family circumstances. Parental discretion should be used when reading the book with younger children. This multi-level story is well written and will entrance the reader on page one. Clements does a great job of amalgamating realism and fantasy to keep the reader in suspense until the very last page. This novel could be used for discussion and learning during English, Psychology, or Sociology classes.
Gwen, age 17, has come to live with her grandfather in Manhattan so she can prepare for violin auditions at the top music schools there. Then her grandfather mysteriously disappears, leaving her a message not to tell anyone he's gone, and she meets Robert, a teenager who is also in town for music auditions. Out shopping one day, they see the shadow of a man without being able to see the man himself, and Robert tells her it's an invisible man; he himself has had experience being invisible (related in Things Not Seen), he finally explains. Meanwhile, Gwen's great-uncle, desperate for money, is trying to contact her grandfather, to get him to sell the house, and the unscrupulous invisible man sees an opportunity to profit. A discovery in the basement freezer brings events to a surprising climax. Those who enjoyed Things Not Seen will want to read this sequel, but it can stand on its own. It's not quite as gripping or successful a tale, since the invisible person isn't the narrator this time around and it doesn't entirely revolve around the always-fascinating idea of what it might be like to be invisible. However, there is considerable suspense, and Gwen's strong feelings for music and her family are clearly conveyed. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2006, Penguin, Philomel, 176p., $16.99.. Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
VOYA - Florence H. Munat
Gwen, a West Virginia native, has spent her two last years of high school living with her grandfather in his Manhattan brownstone to attend a performing-arts high school and take private violin lessons. Grampa has even installed a soundproof room in his basement so Gwen can pursue her passion anytime. But only days before her college auditions at three prestigious music schools, Gwen receives a mysterious phone message from Grampa saying that he must go away for awhile and she must not tell anyone. Above all, she must keep practicing. When she meets Robert, a trombonist from Chicago in New York for his auditions, they share secrets. She tells him about Grampa's disappearance, and he reveals that a few years ago, he became invisible. Readers will recognize that Robert is "Bobby" from Clements's novel, Things Not Seen (Philomel, 2002/VOYA February 2002), and he still has his blind girlfriend Alicia. Plot complications occur when Gwen's great-uncle arrives and angrily insists on speaking to his brother, when Robert perceives an invisible man in a museum who shows up at the brownstone and harasses them, and when a discovery is made in the basement that necessitates calling the police. The story is fast-paced and believable, and it creates a portrait of two teens devoted to their music and the sacrifices demanded of such a life. The threat posed by the invisible man serves to heighten suspense, but it is more of an intrusion than an enrichment of the plot. Although they live apart, Gwen and her parents are close, and their relationship forms a major part of the novel.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-The protagonist in Things Not Seen (Philomel, 2002) becomes a helpful friend to 17-year-old Gwen, who has been living with her grandfather in Manhattan while attending music school and preparing for intense auditions for college. Then, just after her grandfather and his brother have a fight about money, her grandfather disappears, leaving a confusing and cryptic note. Robert, also a musician, and Gwen pair up to solve the mystery when an uncomfortable reminder of his past shows up. The plot is quick, and readers will identify with Gwen's feelings of being torn between responsibility to herself and to her future, and her need to find her grandfather. Gwen's story is a good mix of mystery, friendship, and fantasy, with a touch of creepiness that will make the most sense to those who have read Things Not Seen.-Sherry Quinones, Frederick County Public Libraries, MD Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Seventeen-year-old Gwen is from Charleston, W.Va., but she has been studying violin in New York City and living with her grandfather. Grampa's health is poor, and his younger brother needs him to agree to sell the apartment house they jointly own. This threatens to shatter Gwen's concentration just as she comes up to her auditions for Julliard. Then Gwen's grandfather vanishes, leaving cryptic recorded instructions for her to follow. Gwen dodges Great Uncle Hank with the help of Robert, a trumpet student in town for auditions of his own. Grampa's body turns up, the police get involved and a sinister invisible stranger complicates everything. This companion to Things Not Seen (2002) is a disappointment in comparison. Though some of the plot centers on Robert's earlier invisibility, that part resolves itself off-stage, and it's the story of the missing Grampa that is harder to believe. Endless nattering about the auditions may hold some appeal for musical students, and the heavily embroidered New York references might attract others, but most will hope for it all to be over. (Fiction. 12-14)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
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Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.46(d)
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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