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Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Length: 272 pages
From the Publisher
“Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal and they’ve barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help.
Madison’s twin stepkids are moving in with her family and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there’s a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it’s the truth.”
Those of you who regularly follow my reviews will notice that I’ve left a couple parts out of this review, no single sentence summary and nothing about “the draw.” Why you might ask? To begin, Nothing to See Here is impossible to summarize that simply, and then there was NO draw for me on this one. I had no intention of reading this book because I just didn’t like Wilson’s last book, The Family Fang. When I read that his latest was about kids spontaneously combusting, it was an easy call for me. But, my late fall reading schedule was light and when I saw how much Sarah from Sarah’s Book Shelves and others were liking the book, I went ahead and put in a hold on Libby. It came in just as I was looking for something different to read, and though skeptical, I began.
SURPRISE! From the very start I loved this book. I thought it would be over the top, ridiculous even, but it wasn’t at all. It’s true that kids bursting into flames seems like a very weird premise (and let’s be honest, it is), but somehow it didn’t feel that strange. At its heart, Nothing to See Here is the story of two very damaged kids, and an almost equally damaged young woman tasked with caring for them. The flames really just gave the story context.
Lillian Breaker knew absolutely nothing about caring for kids, normal or otherwise, but when her lifelong “friend” asked for her help Lillian reluctantly agreed. Her first experience with 10-year old twins, Bessie and Roland, did not go well, yet something in Lillian felt sympathy, even camaraderie with the pair. The dynamic between Lillian and the twins made Wilson’s story shine. (Dare I say burn brightly?) I found the changing dynamics of this unconventional relationship touching and so well written.
“For a second, there was that weird flicker in her eyes, that wickedness that I loved, that I wanted to live inside. A wicked child was the most beautiful thing in the world.”
It takes a truly gifted writer to turn the absurd into such a heartwarming, special story. I also appreciate that Wilson so brilliantly delivered Lillian to his readers in first person. Her voice is one I’ll long remember and forever admire. If you’re looking for one last great book of 2019, or are just want a little fun, you really must pick up Nothing to See Here. Nothing to fear there! Grade: A-
“I wanted to shoot into the sky like a comet. I was a grown woman, crying, surrounded by fire children who were not mine. No one looking at this would feel good about it.”
If you like this book you might also enjoy:
- This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel – A family’s struggle to make a good life for their son who in his core knows he’s a girl. (my review)
- The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray – Siblings who lost their own mother at a young age rally around their two teenage nieces whose parents are in prison.(my review)