Nothing to See Here

Nothing to See Here

Book - 2019 | First edition
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"Kevin Wilson's best book yet--a moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with remarkable and disturbing abilities... Lillian and Madison were the unlikeliest of roommates at their elite boarding school: Madison, the daughter of a prominent Atlanta family, being groomed for greatness; Lillian, a scholarship student, plucked out of nowhere based solely on her intellect and athletic prowess. The two were as tight as could be, reveling in their unique weirdnesses, until Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly. Years later, the two have lost touch, but Madison writes and begs Lillian for help. Her husband's twin stepkids are moving in with them and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there's a catch: the twins can spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a disturbing but beautiful way. Disbelieving at first but ultimately too intrigued by these strange children, Lillian agrees. And as they hunker down in the pool house, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other--and stay cool--just as Madison's family is bracing for a major announcement. It all seems impossible to manage, but Lillian soon accepts that she and the children need each other, urgently and fiercely. With a white-hot wit and a big, tender heart, Kevin Wilson has written a most unusual story of deep parental love that proves to be his best book yet"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Ecco, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062913463
Branch Call Number: F WILSO-K
Characteristics: 254 pages ; 22 cm


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Jul 31, 2020

I expected this to be funny, but it was actually quite tender and sweet.

Jul 30, 2020

I read (listened to it) for book club I really liked it.

Jul 26, 2020

I chose this book based on its cover. Looked interesting! It's tagged as "magical realism," a description with which I definitely agree. It's realistic except for the parts that are totally NOT realistic. But the reader accepts the absurdity--it's a great suspension of disbelief! This book was touching at times, funny at times, and I'm glad I decided to follow my instinct and judge a book by its cover.

Jul 12, 2020

The magical realism of the quirky premise – children who spontaneously combust but don’t really harm themselves – had me digging deeper for metaphors /symbolism. Feeling “burned” by life? In a pressure-cooker situation? Rising from the ashes? Fire as a cleansing, a purification? Wilson doesn’t allude to any of those, but his style is both warm and entertaining and seems to be about accepting people with all of their faults. Quite a zany read that balances humour and heart.

Jun 23, 2020

Molly rec (audiobook has good narrator)

CALS_Lee May 19, 2020

Come for the gimmick, stay for one touching, and one puzzling, relationship. The gimmick of course is the children who periodically burst into flame, which doesn't do them any harm. The story doesn't try to explain how this could be, making it magical realism instead of science fiction. Also making it explainable as a mere metaphor for how children can be difficult. What, children can be difficult? It's true!

The puzzling relationship is between Madison, the two children's step-mother, and Lillian, her roommate for half a year of ninth grade at an elite boarding school. Madison is beautiful and was raised to be at home with power and wealth, and is now married to the kids' father, an important Senator, but has trouble forming relationships and has no real friends. Except Lillian? Lillian was a scholarship kid at the school before being expelled, taking the fall for Madison's actions after Madison's arrogant father wrote Lillian's uncaring mother a large check, sending Lillian back to a life of poor schools and dead end jobs. This relationship has all sorts of subtexts - a massive and uncomfortable power imbalance, hidden and repressed sexuality, dysfunctional families, thwarted ambitions.

The touching relationship is between these kids and Lillian. The children's mother, a paranoid recluse, has killed herself and tried to kill them as well. Their father, the Senator, has no feeling for them and wants them to be hidden away. They catch on fire. Safe to say, they've got some issues. Madison asks Lillian to leave behind her barely functional life to care for them in a guesthouse on their massive estate. It shouldn't work out but it does, and the kids and Lillian find love and redemption in each other. And it's actually written pretty well.

There's less done with the flammable aspect of the children than I was expecting, so I got a different book than I thought I was about to read, but it's an entertaining and solid read.

Apr 06, 2020

Loved this book. So profound and well written, raising questions of who we are whole also asking what it takes to raise children. Does it take a good person? Or just someone who’s willing to try? It observes characters and situations without being strange, and the prose is so incredible. There is literally nothing wrong with this book, except that it's too short! I really loved this book and I wish it would be made into a movie!

Apr 04, 2020

I came in expecting a big ol funny bag o laughs about children on fire, but it ended up being more sad and profound than my feeble heart expected.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Mar 16, 2020

Suuuuper weird, but delightfully so. Quirky and fun! Who wouldn't love hanging out with a couple of children who can sometimes spontaneously burst into flames?

Feb 28, 2020

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is a great read. Wilson crafts a story that is both - a few parts fantasy and several parts reality. He captured my attention and held it with characters and situations that made me want to read more. And when I finished this work of fiction I find myself - grateful for the “ride”.

I found Wilson’s work to reveal so much about his characters, their sense of self, and each of their unique journeys - to be refreshing. I recommend this book.

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ArapahoeAnnaL Jan 06, 2020

And if I'd driven to the basket right then, I would have hit an easy layup, but I let her recover. I drove and then did my... And when Madison felt that pressure from me, that movement, she turned and ran to the basket, too... I was about to reach it when I felt something hard slam into my face, and all these stars blasted into my head, this stinging pain... 'She hit you in the face,' Bessie said, 'with her elbow.' 'It was an accident, of course,' Madison said. 'shit, I'm sorry, Lillian.'


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