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Hautman, Pete.
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005.
ISBN 0689868006

(4 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Doug isn't a school athlete or a popular student.  He doesn't go out for theater.  And he spends a lot of time working on his model railroad.  Andy is a popular student, a great athlete and involved with school theater.  The two aren't what you would expect for best friends.  But they live next door to each other and have been best friends forever.  Late at night, they talk to each other through their windows.  But things are just not right somehow.  As the days go by, we learn what it is.

Booktalk #2

Andy Morrow and I are best friends. Best friends share everything, especially secrets.

I am Douglas MacArthur Hanson, but Andy calls me Dougie.
I am 17 and go to Fairview Central High. I am kind of shy, a lot different then Andy.

It doesn’t matter that we live in completely different realities—that Andy is the quarterback of the football team and stars in school plays while I spend most of my time working on an HO train set I have in our basement. If you asked Andy to name his best friend, he would say, “Dougie Hanson.”
I am pretty much invisible except when I am with Andy.

Do I strike you as a little obsessive? My parents and counselor think so.
But the truth is I am just very focused. So focused I built a whole town around my train set. Right now I am building a suspension bridge out of matchsticks.

Like I said, Andy and I share a secret. We had some bad luck with fires when we were kids. There was the tree house and the then the Tuttle Place.
But everything turned out all right. I don’t see why everybody thinks my friendship with Andy is such a problem. Dr. Ahlstrom says I need to forget Andy. But I can't. You see we both made it out of that fire alive. That’s our secret. Andy is alive and he is my best friend. No matter what, he will never leave me.

(Booktalk by Tom Reynolds, Sno-Isle Regional Library System for the Evergreen Young Adult Book award, 2007-2008)

Booktalk #3

Doug Hansen is a loner and a geek. He is obsessed with his model train, and has been building a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge for it for 3 years in his basement by carefully scraping the phosphorus ends off of match sticks. He has used over 22 thousand sticks, all precisely glued, neatly arranged, all done to scale. Doug's one friend is his next door neighbor, Andy Morrow, popular actor and football quarterback. Doug and Andy talk every evening from their bedroom windows about the events of the day--

Or do they?

From early in the book, you know that something bad happened in the past. Something really bad. Doug admits he and Andy had some bad luck with fires when they were kids, but they are more careful now. He really doesn't like to think about that time. But--why do Doug's mother and his psychiatrist both think that Doug is talking to himself when he is in his bedroom?

And, why is the book called Invisible?

As Doug's life at school becomes more unbearable as the book progresses, he retreats to what gives him comfort--his train and the bridge, his friendship with Andy that his parents seem to not want to hear about, and his fascination with fire. His repressed memory of that bad time he and Andy had won't stay stuffed, and when it breaks through, Doug's parents realize he must have help.

All aboard?

Get ready for a whole new train ride: Invisible by Pete Hautman

(Booktalk by Kathy Caldwell, Woodward Middle School for the Evergreen Young Adult Book award, 2007-2008)

Booktalk #4

Seventeen-year-old Doug Hanson could be described as obsessed. He is obsessed with building a model train set with matchsticks, with watching and following the beautiful Melissa Haverman, who calls him a worm, and with talking to his best friend Andy Morrow, who is the exact opposite of Doug. Andy is his next-door neighbor, and he is popular, athletic, and good-looking. Doug isn’t bothered by the fact that Andy doesn’t talk to him at school, but only from the next-door window at night. There are secrets in Doug’s life. Why is he obsessed with matches? Why is a strange man living in Andy’s house? Why is Doug preoccupied with initials and carvings? Why doesn’t he take his medication? Enter Doug’s private world and learn what has put him in his living hell.  (Prepared by: Sally Hursey for SCASL Young Adult Awards, 2008)

SUBJECTS:     Best friends -- Fiction.
                        Friendship -- Fiction.
                        Railroads -- Models -- Fiction.
                        Models and modelmaking -- Fiction.
                        Schools -- Fiction.
                        Mental illness -- Fiction.


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