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Now You See It ...    by Vivian Vande Velde order for
Now You See It ...
by Vivian Vande Velde
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2006 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Wendy is a typical high school sophomore - she's concerned about hanging with her friends, avoiding her step-family, liking the right boy, and most of all, about her appearance. Basically, she is very self-centered.

Wendy's glasses make her incredibly self-conscious, which is why she is not too terribly upset when rowdy ninth-grade boys accidentally step on them on the bus one day. In order to see to get to school after the bus has to stop due to an accident, Wendy must wear strange sunglasses she found the day before on the front lawn. Not only are the sunglasses unstylish, they also let her see things that no one else can (and they perfectly correct her vision).

Soon Wendy discovers that some of her classmates are not what they seem and finds herself chased into a land filled with elves, witches, and little blue mischievous spreenies. Trying to get back to her own world, Wendy stumbles across her grandmother when she was only a few years older than Wendy. They must work together if either one is ever going to get home. Along the way, Wendy learns a lot about her grandmother and starts to be able to put aside preconceived notions about everyone who is not her.

The one point that is somewhat confusing about the plot is that the first really strange things that Wendy sees with her glasses are dead people. Once she meets up with an old crone and a handsome elf at the school (only visible in these forms through the glasses), Wendy never sees any ghosts again. This was bugging me through the whole book as I could not figure out why the author put this event in and then left it hanging. I kept guessing how it would relate to the rest of the story, but it never came up again. Also, while the glasses are an important catalyst for Wendy's adventures, they are pretty much forgotten as things take a sudden turn half way through the book.

Aside from these factors - which, combined with moments where the main character is barely likeable, limit the story's appeal - Now You See It ... is a typical modern-day fantasy geared towards middle-schoolers. It also contains deeper messages about family-ties and prejudices, discussed in an honest, easy-to-grasp way.

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