The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman

May 30, 2011
By Anonymous

The Schwa Was Here

Meet Anthony (Antsy) Bonano. He is a middle school boy who lives in a small town where

everyone knows everyone. Anthony spends each day basically the same way- doing nothing with his

friends. To him this was normal until he met Calvin Schwa, or “The Schwa” as everyone calls him. As

it so happens, Schwa has lived in the same town as Antsy for just as long as Antsy has been there

himself, so how has he not been noticed before?

As it so happens, The Schwa is ‘functionally invisible,’ which is a nice way of saying that people

tend to glance right over him and not even notice that he is there. Teachers mark him absent for school

and never call on him in class because they aren’t able to see his hand. Even his own father passes him

by occasionally without noticing. There are a couple people, though, who can see The Schwa with no


Mr. Crawley, the town recluse, is a person who can see him. One day when The Schwa is

dared to break into Mr. Crawley’s restaurant without being seen and bring back a memento, a dog

bowl, to prove that he was there. Mr. Crawley catches The Schwa and Antsy red-handed, and in

order for them not to be punished by law, he has ordered them to twelve weeks of community

service, or, that is, service for him.

This story deals with the elements of mystery, discovery, and friendship. It beautifully illustrates

the relationship between the two unlikely friends of Antsy and The Schwa and the ups and downs that

their friendship goes through. This book is a touching story that shows the importance of friends and

self-discovery. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who was considering reading it because

it just might change the way that you look at things in the world.

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