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Others See Us Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Others See Us, like many of Sleator's books, explores an interesting premise based on scientific conjecture, which is used to explore the conflicts sometimes present in seemingly ordinary families. In this case, the novel's protagonist, Jared, develops the ability to read others' minds and, as a result, discovers his relatives' innermost thoughts and secrets. Ultimately, he realizes that most people are not what they appear to be on the surface.

As is frequently the case with Sleator's work, the novel is suspenseful, largely plot-driven, and yet provides interesting insights into its protagonist and a few other major characters. Through Annelise, Jared's cousin, Sleator paints a portrait of a sociopath who ultimately defeats herself. Jared's grandmother is a complex, ambiguous character.

In the course of the novel, Sleator explores the nature of the human mind and the lengths to which individuals will go to protect their secrets. In typical Sleator-fashion, the novel's ending is both ambiguous and thought-provoking. Reviewers such as M. P. Dunleavy are correct in suggesting that this is one of Sleator's best books.