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Authors: Pete Hautman

Invisible

BOOK: Invisible
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PRAISE FOR
INVISIBLE


Invisible
is a taut, perfectly-pitched snare drum of a novel. The writing style is stretched to the breaking point and the narration never misses a beat. Hautman also proves what we all suspected: an obsessive hobby (in this case model train building) is really a mask for some great pain. His best novel yet.”

—WILL WEAVER, AUTHOR OF
FARM TEAM

“Pete Hautman's
Invisible
is taut, mysterious, and ultimately sad. It's the kind of story you experience, rather than read. And when it's over, it lingers. Most impressive.”

—GRAHAM SALISBURY, AUTHOR OF
UNDER THE BLOOD RED SUN

You could say that my railroad, the Madham Line, is almost the most important thing in my life. Next to Andy Morrow, my best friend. … I guess you could say that I'm not only disturbed,
I'm obsessed
.

LOTS OF PEOPLE think Doug Hanson is a freak—he gets beat up after school, and the girl of his dreams calls him a worm. Doug's only refuge is building elaborate model trains in his basement and hanging out with his best friend, Andy Morrow. Andy is nothing like Doug: He's a popular football star who could date any girl in school. Despite their differences, Doug and Andy talk about everything—except what happened at the Tuttle place a few years back.

As Doug retreats deeper and deeper into his own world, long-buried secrets come to light—and the more he tries to keep them invisible, the looser his grip on reality becomes. In this fierce, disturbing novel, National Book Award-winning author Pete Hautman spins a poignant tale about inner demons, and how far one boy will go to control them.

A Junior Library Guild Selection

PETE HAUTMAN has written many novels for adults and teens, including
Godless
, winner of the National Book Award, and
Sweetblood
, which
Publishers Weekly
called “a tantalizing read” in its starred review. His other award-winning young adult novels include
Hole in the Sky, No Limit
, and
Mr. Was
. Pete lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

JACKET PHOTOGRAPH COPYRIGHT © 2005

BY MARC YANKUS

JACKET DESIGN BY RUSSELL GORDON

Visit us on the world wide web
www.SimonSaysKids.com

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

SIMON & SCHUSTER, NEW YORK

Invisible

Also by Pete Hautman

Godless

Sweetblood

Hole in the Sky

No Limit

Mr. Was

SIMON & SCHUSTER BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

www.SimonandSchuster.com

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2005 by Pete Hautman

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

S
IMON
& S
CHUSTER
B
OOKS FOR
Y
OUNG
R
EADERS

is a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Book design by Ann Zeak.

The text for this book is set in Bembo.

Interior illustrations by Pete Hautman

2   4   6   8   10   9   7   5   3   1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Hautman, Pete, 1952–

Invisible / Pete Hautman.— 1st ed.

p. cm.

Summary: Doug and Andy are unlikely best friends—one a loner obsessed by his model trains, the other a popular student involved in football and theater—who grew up together and share a bond that nothing can sever.

ISBN 0-689-86800-6 (hardcover)

ISBN 978-1-4391-0704-1 (eBook)

[1. Best friends—Fiction. 2. Friendship—Fiction. 3. Railroads—Models—Fiction. 4. Models and modelmaking—Fiction. 5. Schools—Fiction. 6. Mental illness—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.H2887In 2005

[Fic]—dc22                                               2004002484

Contents

Chapter 1: My Best Friend

Chapter 2: Stella

Chapter 3: Focus

Chapter 4: Logic

Chapter 5: Secrets

Chapter 6: Troubled

Chapter 7: Practice

Chapter 8: Worm

Chapter 9: Rat

Chapter 10: Butterfingers

Chapter 11: To Build a Fire

Chapter 12: Sigil

Chapter 13: I Spy

Chapter 14: Bridge

Chapter 15: George Fuller

Chapter 16: Pooping Cat

Chapter 17: Pretty Girls

Chapter 18: Therapy

Chapter 19: End Run

Chapter 20: Outrageous Lies

Chapter 21: Meatballs

Chapter 22: Kicks

Chapter 23: Room 317

Chapter 24: Number Five

Chapter 25: Rescheduled

Chapter 26: Flammable

Chapter 27: Power

Chapter 28: Trains and Lockers

Chapter 29: Interrogation

Chapter 30: Interrogation (Part 2)

Chapter 31: Godzilla

Chapter 32: The Yelling

Chapter 33: Restoration

Chapter 34: State of the Art

Chapter 35: Quality of Line

Chapter 36: Derailed

Chapter 37: Madham

Invisible

1
MY BEST FRIEND

T
here is something about trains. The sound they make. The way they go by, one car after another after another after another. Every car different but somehow the same. And the tracks go on forever, connecting places, connecting people. Wherever you are, you could go to the nearest railroad track right now, and if you followed it long enough, you would find me.

There is another thing to know about trains. They are large and dangerous. They would crush you if they could, but they are confined by those two narrow strips of steel. Trains are like fire. You don't want to get in their way.

My grandfather left me his HO scale model railroad when he passed on. One locomotive, seven cars, and sixteen feet of track. That's another reason I like trains—they connect me to him, wherever he is. You could say that my railroad, the Madham Line, is almost the most important thing in my life. Next to Andy Morrow, my best friend.

A guy like Andy might have more than one best friend. He is so popular that there are at least five kids at school who would probably claim him. But if you asked Andy who was
his
best friend,
he
would say, “Dougie Hanson, of course.” And that would be me.

I'm a quiet kid, pretty much invisible—except if you happen to notice me standing next to Andy. We grew up together, Andy and me. Next door, actually. We met at the age of one year and three months. Our birthdays are only seventeen days apart. We are like Velcro, like two poles of a magnet, like peanut butter and jelly, like superglue. We are best friends by every definition. Best friends. Best. Friends.

It doesn't matter to Andy Morrow that I have crooked teeth and poor coordination and wear stupid clothes. It wouldn't matter if I had a nose like a pig and smelled of Limburger cheese. Andy would
still
say, “Dougie is my best friend.”

True, Andy might spend more time with other kids who
claim
to be his best friend. He might hang with the other football players, and his friends on the student council, and his golfing friends, and his theater friends, but he always comes home at night and opens his bedroom
window and calls out across the low picket fence, “Hey, Dougie!”

And if my window is open, and if I'm awake, we talk.

It does not matter that we don't spend as much time together as we used to. I tell Andy all about the new tank car I bought for the Madham Line. I might talk about my mother's latest crossword puzzle, or a book I read about black holes, or a math test I took in school, and Andy would listen. That is what best friends do.

And if Andy wants to talk about the school play he is starring in, or his latest football game, or a girl he met … I'll listen to him, too.

It does not matter to Andy that we live in completely different realities. I'm Andy's best friend. It does not matter to Andy that we hardly ever actually
do
anything together.

Why should it? We are best friends, me and Andy. Best. Friends.

2
STELLA

M
y full and proper name is Douglas MacArthur Hanson. I am named after Douglas MacArthur, the famous general, who was a second cousin of my father's great-aunt. Everyone on my father's side is named after some famous person we are supposedly related to. My father's name is Henry Clay Hanson. Henry Clay was a politician who died before the Civil War. He was my grandfather's cousin's great-uncle. Or something like that. It goes on and on. Since my grandfather's name was George Washington Hanson, I guess I'm related to the father of our country too. Anyway, I'm glad I got named after a general instead of a politician. I think it makes me sound more respectable.

Usually when I meet someone for the first time, I tell them my full and proper name. Then I say, “But you can call me General.” Some people find that amusing. Andy always laughs. Sometimes he calls me General, just to tease me. I don't mind. I kind of like it. I am very easy to get along with.

My mother would not agree with that. She finds me difficult. In fact, she thinks that I am troubled and disturbed. I find it troubling that she finds me disturbing, so she must be right.

BOOK: Invisible
2.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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