Karen Ball's Reviews > The Schwa Was Here

The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman
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Feb 04, 2012

really liked it

I met Neal Shusterman at the Westport Library's Rabbit Hill Literature festival dinner in October, and he was hilarious! We might be able to get him to come for a visit next spring -- hope so, because he's a phenomenal speaker and has a great sense of humor. That's evident in The Schwa Was Here. Anthony "Antsy" Bonano tells how he discovered Calvin Schwa, a fellow student no one else noticed, because he has an almost supernatural ability to go unnoticed. Antsy and his buddies run some scientific experiments and discover that "Four out of five people do not notice the Schwa in your standard classroom." Everything short of a metal bar in the Schwa's pocket as he goes through metal detectors at JFK airport works! The boys start making money by running bets as to what the Schwa can get away with given his apparent powers, and they end up on the wrong side of Old Man Crawley, powerful restaurant owner and agorophobic (he doesn't leave his apartment). Shusterman's storytelling is funny and rich with Brooklyn details, but it also will make you think about people who seem to be on the fringes -- ones most people pay no attention to at all. I loved re-reading this one, and I highly recommend picking up any of his other books.
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