The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him


Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
355 Pages
Reviewed on 01/21/2019
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Tom Hoffman received a B.S. in psychology from Georgetown University in 1972 and a B.A. in 1980 from the now-defunct Oregon College of Art. He has lived in Alaska with his wife Alexis since 1973. They have two adult children and two adorable grandchildren. Tom was a graphic designer and artist for over 35 years. Redirecting his imagination from art to writing, he wrote his first novel, The Eleventh Ring, at age 63. He recently completed the five book series, Orville Wellington Mouse Adventures.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him is an epic fantasy novel for young adults written by Tom Hoffman. Being the translucent boy was all Odo Whitley had ever known. A seemingly random gift of perfume sent to his mother, Petunia, when she was pregnant sixteen years earlier, had come with the warning about the side effects possible with use during pregnancy. But the scent was her favorite of all, and the perfume’s name, Little Dove, was the pet name her father had given her. Surely it was a gift from him from beyond? Neither Petunia nor her husband, Albert, knew what Translucent Child Syndrome was, but Odo came to know what it was rather well. Being translucent meant being invisible, standing in the school bus rather than risk having a burly football player mistake your presence for an empty seat. That had happened once years before, and Odo had learned from that experience. No one could see him, and no one seemed concerned about that fact. His life consisted of being ignored and having to let people know that, yes, he was right there in front of them. His teachers were all too accomplished at making believe his desk in their classes was empty. No challenges were set before him, no one ever called on him for an answer.

Being translucent hadn’t meant being wise, as his father had mistakenly thought. Odo was fortunate at least in that he had intelligence and curiosity. While teachers droned on about subjects far below his capacity, he was able to continue his studies of neurophysiology undisturbed. He was also gifted with extraordinary peripheral vision, which was why in class one day he was stunned to realize that he was being stared at. No one had ever done that before. Sephie Crumb, she of the bright orange hair who had swiftly been dubbed Creepy Crumb by her crueler classmates, was intently studying his head. He figured he must be mistaken, but, then, as she left the classroom, the folded note she tossed on his desk confirmed the impossible -- she could see him.

The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him is a wise and ineffably lovely coming of age tale that comes complete with vast galaxies, alien beings and a tasty helping of metaphysics as dessert. Watching Odo become complete, as it were, on becoming visible to Sephie is moving and unforgettable; following the two as they set off on amazing, terrifying and exhilarating adventures is an unforgettable experience. Odo and Sephie are marvelous characters; their interactions and their coming of age are joys to behold. Hoffman’s story is gorgeously written and a dream to read. Hoffman deftly toys with infinite possibilities and orchestrates the most amazing stories. Once again, he’s surprised and delighted me. The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him is most highly recommended.

Joel R. Dennstedt

A tantalizing talent that Tom Hoffman has exhibited in all his prior books, but which comes to exquisite culmination in his latest creation, The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him, is the ability to ignite and inflame a reader’s most deeply seated and joyful curiosity. Within the first few chapters of this brilliantly engaging book, one is enraptured by a strange and provocative mystery that makes the reader wriggle with rapt anticipation: who are these likable but apparently ruthless scientists who would experiment on a pregnant woman? How can the consequence be a translucent, not transparent (let’s be clear about that) boy child? Why is this boy being monitored and prophetically triggered by seemingly random encounters with decidedly unusual people? And most of all, who is this sweet young girl, apparently telepathic, who actually sees the boy, not through him, and wants to be his only friend?

So, maybe think of The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him as your personal ticket to amazement and adventure, for Tom Hoffman will indeed amaze you as surely as P.T. Barnum when you follow Odo and Sephie (the Boy and the Girl) on an adventure worthy of a billion worlds, literally, as they foray first to Plindor, where yellow octopi are the norm. Okay, this is not a book made for easy distillation or concise description. Filled with magic, science, metaphysical realities (a Hoffman hallmark, to be sure) and lots of Hoffmanian romantic and self-deprecating humor, you may be certain to encounter this: amazement aplenty, and entertainment served up large. Sit back and prepare to be delighted. Oh yeah, the kids should like it too.

A. L. Peevey

Odo Whitley proves to be an unlikely hero in Tom Hoffman’s The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him. His life has mainly been spent living out of sight because no one can really see him, including his teachers, due to his having been born translucent. His parents love him but do not really understand his lonely dilemma. He feels isolated but takes solace in books and is a prodigious reader. An odd gift and a visit from a mysterious man when he was younger both hint at something portentous in his future. Then, one day, Sephie Crumb, a girl with bright orange hair, notices him, and so begins a series of astonishing adventures and a dangerous quest to find a missing doll.

In The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him, Tom Hoffman creates a charming tale of otherworldly and imaginative characters and adventures. Odo is an underdog who never stays down for long. He is not given to pessimism. Sephie Crumb with her brilliant orange hair is perfect as his best friend and someone who accepts him for what he is. Hoffman does not let their relationship transform into romance, but the potential is seemingly hinted at by the end of the story. A particularly interesting element of the story is the means to travel between dimensions. With his discovery of his otherworldly roots, Odo begins to find purpose in his life and accepts his peculiarities. While fun is to be had in this story, there is also an optimism in it that is impossible to ignore, helping to make it a worthwhile read. Excellently written story that I enjoyed reading!

K.C. Finn

The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him is a work of fantasy drama, written for young adults by author Tom Hoffman. Set in the alternate land of Atroxia, with its many perils and evildoers, we meet Odo Whitley, the child of an experiment gone wrong. Odo is translucent, barely there, and his life is filled with crippling loneliness as everyone around him fails to notice him. One day in science class, fate finds Odo in the form of Sephie Crumb, a girl with unusual gifts of her own. So begins the mystery of why Sephie can see, and wants to see, Odo, and the truth about the world in which they live. And the billion other worlds that are waiting just beyond it.

This was a truly magical adventure that I didn’t want to end. Author Tom Hoffman writes with clarity but with elegance, elevating the young adult form for the whole family to enjoy this magical and deeply involved read. Odo and Sephie’s romantic and spiritual bonds make for a compelling central pairing that you really care about and get invested in, whilst the wider ‘worlds’ of the novel come and go with visceral living colour and intense world building. The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him presents a Narnia for the modern age, a new classic that is sure to be enjoyed by all who come across it. I’d highly recommend it for fans of lavish, layered fantasy fiction with conspiracy, suspense and beautiful wordplay.

Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer)

The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him by Tom Hoffman is a stunning young adult fantasy about a boy named Odo who is translucent, thus difficult to see, and a girl named Sephie Crumb who is able to see brainwaves. When Sephie passes Odo a note in science class, the two of them become friends. Together, they go on an adventure to different worlds, including Plindor and Atroxia, where they meet new and exciting beings, including a powerful Fortisian girl named Cyra and a giant yellow octopus. With some help, the two friends must find a doll Sephie had when she was younger, but many obstacles are thrown in their way. Will they succeed?

I really enjoyed reading The Translucent Boy and the Girl Who Saw Him by Tom Hoffman. The book had plenty of unique characters that are likeable and complex. The characters all have unique powers that are very cool, and that readers will wish they had. I thought the story was intriguing, and I liked how the reader finds out stuff about Sephie as she does. The story is very exciting and thrilling. I was hooked by the first page, and I never wanted to put the book down. The book is very well written and descriptive. The story contains some plot twists that will shock the reader. The story is filled with action and plenty of exciting scenes. This is a very enjoyable and entertaining read that I would definitely recommend to everyone.