Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Gifted, Book 1

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Gifted, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Great lit? No. Fun for reluctant readers? Yes.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Positive messages of learning to see things from others' points of view, but also negative ones about improving social status through clothing, hairstyles, and makeup.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is mean to other children and even her own mother, but learns to see things from their points of view.


A man hits his wife, a child is hit by a car.


A mention of boobs.


Handbag, clothing, toy, bookstore, department store brands mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A mention of teens using drugs and another of smoking, a mother is a drunk whose daughter has to clean up after her.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are brief references to drinking, smoking, drugs, spousal abuse, commercial brands, and boobs, but none are more than passing references.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Kid, 10 years old June 7, 2012


i loved this book! it has a lot of positive messages. Amanda, the main charecter in the book has it all, she is the queen of medowbrooke middle school and has... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 27, 2011

Okay book, nothing bad in it

I've read it. its pretty good. I read the second one actually, the one with the goth chick on the cover and thought that one was pretty good. I dont know a... Continue reading

What's the story?

Amanda Beeson, the well-named queen bee of her middle school, maintains her position by being mean to everyone else. But there's a reason for her meanness: if she allows herself to sympathize with anyone, she finds herself inhabiting their body. In the past she has returned to herself fairly quickly, but when she inhabits social outcast Tracy, she finds herself stuck there, and discovers a secret class in her school for children with supernatural gifts.

Is it any good?

This book reads like something written by a bright college student: a bit clunky, obvious, beating the reader over the head with the Point. It relies on caricature instead of character, and often violates the cardinal rule of writing class -- show, don't tell! This can happen even to a good writer when he or she churns out books on a series schedule, which values speed over subtlety.

That's not to say that this isn't enjoyable -- it is. It's easy and fluid to read, with an engrossing plot and a few original ideas, including turning the middle school queen of mean into a relatable, sympathetic heroine whose spoiled brashness may actually be a healthier approach to life than the social outcast's self pity. Unfortunately, improving the outcast's life predictably involves getting her better clothes, hair, and makeup. But it also involves getting her to stand up for herself, especially to her own neglectful parents. So, not great literature, but a fun read.

From the Book:
From her prime seat at the best table, Amanda Beeson surveyed the chaotic scene with a sense of well-being. The cafeteria was noisy and messy and not very attractive, but it was part of her little kingdom --- or queendom, if such a word existed. She wasn't wearing any kind of crown, of course, but she felt secure in the knowledge that in this particular hive, she was generally acknowledged as the queen bee.

On either side of her sat two princesses --- Sophie Greene and Britney Teller. The three of them were about to begin their daily assessment of classmates. As always, Amanda kicked off the conversation. "Ohmigod, check out Caroline's sweater! It's way too tight."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about seeing things from others' points of view. Was this a good experience for Amanda? How does it change her? Do you think anyone would be changed the same way by her experience?

  • What do you think she will she do now, since sympathizing has a dangerous effect on her? Is it better to sympathize and take the consequences, or should she find another way of avoiding it?

  • What do you think of Madame's approach to their gifts? Is she right to encourage them to hide them and avoid using them? Why or why not?

Book details

  • Author: Marilyn Kaye
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Macmillan
  • Publication date: June 1, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
  • Number of pages: 229
  • Last updated: July 13, 2017

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