Read This Book

Read This Book: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Welcome to Read This Book, a weekly newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!

Nothing to See Here cover imageThis week’s pick is Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson!

“They didn’t want to set the world on fire. They just wanted to be less alone in it.”

Lillian is a twenty-something in 1995, living in her mom’s attic, working two jobs, and completely adrift. The one bright spot in her life is her regular but casual correspondence with her high school friend Madison, who has gone on to marry a senator and have a child. When Madison writes Lillian one day and asks her to please come visit her and help take care of Madison’s new step-kids, it’s a weird request–but Lillian agrees. The only catch? The kids catch on fire when they become upset. Strangely, this does little to deter Lillian and she goes on to forge a tentative bond with the kids, Bessie and Roland.

Reading this book was such a wonderfully odd and surreal experience. It’s full of pitch-perfect humor and deep thoughts about responsibility and caretaking, but it’s not a heavy book at all. Lillian is our narrator, and she often tries to come across more hardened than she really is, but her honesty and wit made me love her from the very beginning. She’s appropriately awed by her new privileged surroundings, but her status as an outsider is what allows her to really connect with Bessie and Roland. Although only secondary characters, they’re fully rounded and extremely lovable, if not jaded by the death of their mom and rejection by their father. They don’t believe in good things very easily, and Lillian has her work cut out for her. But when she does finally win them over, it’s a beautiful connection to behold–and when that connection is threatened, the stakes ramp up brilliantly.

Wilson has crafted a witty novel about finding connection, finding purpose, and finding the bravery to take responsibility, even when you’re not sure if you’re cut out for it. I highly recommend this novel if you love found family stories and humor. Bonus: I listened to the audiobook, brilliantly narrated by Marin Ireland, who just won the 2020 Audie Award for the best female performance of an audiobook for her work on Nothing to See Here. I am not kidding when I say I listened to it in one sitting, and when I finished I was shocked that so much time had gone by!

Happy reading!

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