The Schwa was Here

The Schwa was Here

by Neal Shusterman


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They say his clothes blend into the background, no matter where he stands. They say a lot of things about the Schwa, but one thing’s for sure: no one ever noticed him. Except me. My name is Antsy Bonano, and I was the one who realized the Schwa was “functionally invisible” and used him to make some big bucks. But I was also the one who caused him more grief than a friend should. So if you all just shut up and listen, I’ll tell you everything there is to know about the Schwa, from how he got his name, to what really happened with his mom. I’ll spill everything. Unless, of course, “the Schwa Effect” wipes him out of my brain before I’m done….

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142405772
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 03/02/2006
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 87,934
Product dimensions: 7.74(w) x 5.04(h) x 0.62(d)
Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Neal Shusterman is an award-winning author and screenwriter.  He lives in Southern California with his four children.

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The Schwa Was Here 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
gracie_the_great More than 1 year ago
This is the Best Book I have read in a while. I was kind of stuck in a reading rut and my librarian recommended this. I think a lot of kids either feel like Antsy or the Schwa a lot of the time so even if it is far fetched. There is a sequel called Antsy Does Time that is almost better than this one.
ME_ME_EME_ME_MEE More than 1 year ago
I needed a book to read for class, so I went to the library and checked this out. I was looking for a different kind of book than I usually read, and I never read the inside flap or back of a book to see what happens, so I was totally surprised with this. I couldn't put it down. It's like nothing I've heard about before... Not totally invisible, but partially.
Book_Worm_1998 More than 1 year ago
I don't think this was one of my favorite books, but I still kept reading the book, and I think it started to get better as you kept reading it. Check it out!
DavidDunkerton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved The Schwa Was Here because it had such an interesting, meaningful story. It is told in the first person by an eighth grader in Brooklyn who meets someone named Calvin Schwa, and it turns out ¿The Schwa¿ sits next to him in class but he never noticed him. The Schwa is so unnoticeable that he seems to be invisible, but not really. Just like the ¿uh¿ sound symbolized by ¿, he seems to almost always be there but nobody realizes it.There is a deeper story that develops gradually that looks at the relationships between the different characters and their families. I think many people can identify with the story, because it¿s easy to feel ¿invisible¿ or unnoticed. This book takes that to an extreme, but maybe that¿s what readers need to get the point. It¿s funny and enjoyable to read, and the deeper message that gets you thinking is very subtle.
dgoo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When it comes down to it, we all just want to know that we matter. I found this a rather poignant and funny coming of age tale about a Brooklyn teen, Antsy (short for Anthony), the relatively unnoticed one in his family, and his friend, Calvin Schwa, who is seemingly invisible to most of the world. The themes of mattering as an individual, being recognized as an individual and not blending into the background or existing only as part of someone's else's life, abandonment, and overcoming abandonment--if possible--are explored here, woven into the story deftly and heartbreakingly. I think that most people would identify with something in this book, and with some people it should really hit a nerve. Antsy feels that he is the overlooked glue holding his family together. Calvin feels that no one notices him. (Almost no one does in the story. Most people don't even see him, even if he wears garish costumes.) He struggles with overcoming this negative self worth after he, at age five, is (likely) abandoned by his lost and unnoticed mother in a supermarket. Lexi, a crush of both boys, is blind and struggles with most people being blind to the real her. Anthony's mother struggles to find herself after years of everything she does being a part of everyone else's life, but not her own. She finds she has "put all her eggs in one basket" and needs to have some other egg baskets for herself, so that she matters outside of living her family's life/needs everyday--which really resounded with me, as I suspect it would with many other full-time moms.In sum, another well-written book by Shusterman, with colorful, real characters, smart dialogue and fresh humor.
ericajsc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imagine my surprise when I picked up a Neal Shusterman book ¿ Neal Shusterman of Unwind and the Skinjacker series ¿ and found myself laughing more than I have during a book in a long time. Yet in the midst of all that laughter, there are moments of the deepest sincerity, too.When Antsy realizes that Calvin, a/k/a the Schwa, is usually overlooked even when he¿s standing right in front of someone, he¿s intrigued and wants to know why. This leads to a course of experiments about what does and does not get the Schwa noticed. All of these experiments lead to a ¿job¿ that Antsy and the Schwa start together after school. Through the time they spend in their experiments and at their job, the two of them become close and Antsy wants to help the Schwa figure out the story behind how he became ¿observationally challenged¿.I loved every character in this book, from Antsy¿s best friends to the possibly crazy butcher, and they each play an important role in the story. Mr. Crawley is perfect as the crotchety, agoraphobic shut-in. Lexie provides a sense of compassion, and teaches Antsy how to see things in a profound way. The Schwa¿s dad is eerily detached from his son in a way that is disturbing to read.At its core, this story is about feeling insignificant to the world. Although the story is hyperbolic, it works to make a point about how someone can feel completely surrounded yet completely alone at the same time. Antsy¿s willingness to work against ¿the Schwa Effect¿ in order to help a new friend find peace ¿ and to make sure he¿s never really forgotten ¿ gives the story its heart.
anniecase on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an easy read, which I appreciated. The text is funny and quick, allowing a reader to get through it in record time. Appropriately, given the subject matter, I doubt that I will think about this book a whole lot in the future. But especially as a good guys' read, it would be worthy of recommendation.
elizabethholloway on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Schwa was Here is a very funny and moving story. Shusterman ingeniously depicts the invisibility of the Schwa in a way that seems at once supernatural and totally real. All the characters are distinctive, from the quick-witted Ansty, to the curmudgeonly Mr. Crowley, to the wily Lexis, to the resignedly invisible Schwa. The Brooklyn dialect and humor makes the book a pleasure to read, and the conclusion offers hope to young teens that feel overlooked either at school or at home.
KarriesKorner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A young man prides himself on being able to shrink into the background and being invisible amongst his classmates. He becomes so good at it that his peers begin to make a game of his innocuousness. During the game he develops a friendship with another boy, and the two of them begin to rely on the friendship. Eventually the Schwa begins to feel used and isn't always comfortable with this game, and eventually quits being invisible. This has a tremendous impact on the friendship and the life that the Schwa chooses to live.
rachelick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Brooklynese, Antsy Bonano tells the story of his friend named, cleverly enough, Calvin Schwa. "The Schwa" is practically invisible until he waves in your face. But really, the story is about Antsy, and how he comes to terms with his own feelings of invisibility. There's a lot of all-over-the-board chaos, and character development is spotty in parts, but the story itself is fun, compelling, and mostly unpredictable.
lvrana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty good book with a great underlying theme. This would be a good book for middle school and high school students to read. It keeps the reader interested throughout the whole book and does not give away the ending while reading. This is a great story of friendship that stands the test of time.
Loud_Librarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Neal Shustermans' almost allegorical tale of a teenage boy who 'disappears' works on many levels. Themes of teen disenfranchisement and adolescent awkwardness are enriched through a seemingly realistic yet surreal shaggy dog story. It is certainly one of the most entertaining and perceptive novels that I've read as a YA librarian in a middle school. I love this book!
heidialice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anthony becomes close with a strange nearly-invisible kid, the Schwa. As handler for The Schwa¿s pranks and dares, he becomes involved when a dare goes wrong and they are both pressed into service for an elderly hermit with a blind grand-daughter.This book made me laugh out loud repeatedly. Anthony has a cynical, irreverent but slightly naïve outlook that makes for a truly enjoyable read front to back. Nothing is too neat, but it¿s uplifting nonetheless.
delaney.h4 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: The Schwa is a local legend. They say he's invisible his mother dissapeared and his father is apparentally crazy. But is the Schwa really invisible? And can they really break the so-called "unbreakable plastic"?Review: An amazing read. Kinda feel bad for the Schwa and that was kinda mean of Lexi trying not to give either or the guys up!
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Antsy Bonato is the narrator in this story about becoming visible. Calvin Schwa has the unique ability to blend in, he's "observationally challenged". After a moneymaking scheme involving a series of dares, the boys get caught and forced to do community service by Old Man Crawford. At its heart the book is about seeing and being seen. I really liked Antsy's voice as the narrator. He was sassy and coming into his own. There was a great sense of humor in the writing and The Schwa was an enjoyable read.
emmaluvsbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When you want a weird book, you got it here. This is a strange combination of the bronx and finding who you truly are. Nuff said.
mayaspector on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Eighth-grade Antsy (whose real name is Anthony) is fascinated by his classmate Calvin Schwa. The thing is - the Schwa is pretty much invisible to everyone. No one ever notices him. Now, what kind of trouble could you make if no one could see you? Well, that's what Antsy and the Schwa work on figuring out. This is a funny book. But it's more than that - these are real kids with real problems, too. Antsy's Brooklyn accent comes through loud and strong. This is one of the California Young Reader Medal nominees for middle school. Worth reading!
mitchellf3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The schwa was here was a very good book. not really action packed but very adventerous and cool. a good and unique plot i thought.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Schwa Was Here appeals to a wide age range.The main character is a student somewhere around early high school or late middle school age. The book has interesting, quirky characters, and deals with the feeling everyone has had at some time or other¿that you are invisible and no one notices that you exist.The Schwa is like that. His full name is Calvin Schwa, and the narrator, Antonio Bonano, can¿t remember when he first met him. He was sitting beside Antonio for months in science class before Antonio even noticed his existence.Antonio and his friends decide to do a science experiment about the Schwa Effect. They find that four out of five people don¿t see the Schwa in your standard classroom, that even acting weird and dressed like a total freak, the Schwa is only barely noticed, but that he cannot get through an airport metal detector with an iron bar in his pocket, even though the security guard won¿t notice him until he sets off the alarm.Antonio¿s desire to capitalize on the Schwa Effect ends up getting them into trouble. They meet the recluse Old Man Crawley, and doing community service for him leads to both boys falling for his blind grandaughter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this as a summer reading book, and it was a highlight of my Summer. This book can really show you adventure, drama, and romance, all for 8 bucks! This book was really worth it.
kenzo More than 1 year ago
the schwa was here. was a pleasant read, not to involved just story about a boy and the people he meets; their relationships, conflicts,and situations. main character antsy and newly befriended boy- Calvin have an idea to test if the Schwa effect is real, and contaigest. Calvin is the trite "nobody" everyone sees right threw him... hes not even there. it just so happens that antsy and him come across each other and pretty soon the experiment is put in motion. the results are, in fact, calvin schwa is semi-invisible. it takes place in the streets of new york city when one day the two friends lives are altered with a dare to sneak into the neighborhood grouch's home. they end up meeting an old man and his blind granddaughter who adds a lil bit of drama and love interest . the language through out the novel was easy to comprehend making this a young adult book. the main idea is a little basic but there are some conflicts that spice the story up more; family affairs, friends, and school are the highlights. the book was decent, nice ending- happily ever after deal. i would recommend this book to someone who doesn't particularly enjoy reading because its a quick read and is engrossing enough. the theme i grasped was; someone is there.. you are never truly lost or forgotten.
SecretBookshelf More than 1 year ago
I read The Schwa was Here because the author is really, really good.  (I will have a lot more reviews from him.)  And I wasn't disappointed.   This book is about a boy who is "functionally invisible" (that means not noticed) named Calvin Schwa, whom everyone calls The Schwa.  It is told from his friend, Antsy's, point of view.  They conduct experiments to see how far The Schwa can go unnoticed.  When they get caught, they have to work for some crazy old man.  But then this girl comes into play...   It is a wonderfully told book with twists and turns and a lot of comic relief.  I would really recommend reading it.  It has one of the best endings that I have ever read.  It's one of those endings which leaves you thinking about it constantly and thinking " Omg!  That was SO good!"  At least, it did for me. My one bit of confusion in the entire book was in the beginning, like the first page.  I thought that "dummy" meant "idiot" instead of  "puppet".  That was completely my fault, but I thought I would clear it up in case you get confused.  Anyway, if you're not sure of if you want to read it, read the first page or two.  I am 99% sure that you will love it. I think there is a second book: Antsy Does Time.  It may not be directly related, so I'll let you know once I read it.  In the meantime, I hope you read The Schwa was Here.  Let me know if you have any book you want me to read/ review.    
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! I recomend this for an in-between book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago