Nothing to See Here: Book summary and reviews of Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Nothing to See Here

by Kevin Wilson

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson X
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2019
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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 abilities.

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.

Thinking of her dead-end life at home, the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one humid, demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other—and stay cool—while also staying out of the way of Madison's buttoned-up politician husband. Surprised by her own ingenuity yet unused to the intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her—urgently and fiercely. Couldn't this be the start of the amazing life she'd always hoped for?

With white-hot wit and a big, tender heart, Kevin Wilson has written his best book yet—a most unusual story of parental love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Good Lord, I can't believe how good this book is. I know you're supposed to begin book reviews with subtlety and a nod to storytelling's past and the long literary tradition that the book has managed to hook itself onto. But "Nothing to See Here," the third novel by Kevin Wilson ("The Family Fang"), defies an entry like that because it's wholly original. It's also perfect... " - The New York Times, Taffy Brodesser-Akner

"Nothing to See Here, which has been chosen for the "Today" show book club, raises the temperature on themes Wilson has explored before. The result is his most perfect novel. Paradoxically light and melancholy, it hews to the border of fantasy but stays in the land of realism." - Ron Charles

"Wilson captures the wrenching emotions of caring for children in this exceptional, and exceptionally hilarious, novel." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The book's denouement is a bit predictable, but Lillian develops into an engaging parental proxy in Wilson's latest whimsical exploration of family. A funny and touching fable about love for kids, even the ones on fire." - Kirkus Reviews

"There's hardly a sentence that feels like anything you've read before, that's how fresh his voice is...Witty, confiding, breezily profane...That the supernatural elements feel so right is a testament to Wilson's innate skill as a storyteller." - Entertainment Weekly

"Weird, funny, but also unexpectedly moving...An affecting reflection on the blithe cruelty of the rich and what it means to be a good parent." - Buzzfeed

"Quirky and insightful, strange and delightful." - Popsugar

"Laugh out loud funny. I love the way Kevin Wilson writes." - Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award winner

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Reader Reviews

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Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

Nothing To See Here
Did Madison choose Lillian to be her friend because of the differences in their upbringing?

Did Madison choose Lillian to be her friend because it was convenient for her?

Or did Madison choose Lillian to be her friend because she needed a true friend?

The reason wasn’t clear, but in my opinion what Madison did to Lillian was unforgivable even though they did remain friends.

After many years of still staying in touch, Madison offers Lillian a job as the nanny to the children of her husband and ex-wife since their mother died.

Lillian was skepticaL about the nanny job, but also couldn’t believe the luck of being able to live in a mansion’s guest cottage with domestic help.

The only draw back is that the children have some rare disease where they automatically combust when they get upset. Yes...they catch on fire.

Lillian decided to take the challenge because there were many perks to this job.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE has an interesting premise, and the characters are even more interesting.

Lillian didn’t have a good experience the first time she met the children, but she remained calm and hoped for the best.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE is comical as well as heartwarming as Lillian learns to take care of Roland and Bessie and fall in love with these strange, needy, difficult children.

Lillian wants them to do well and to find out a way to help with this unusual problem. The reader will fall in love with Roland and Bessie too.

I never did warm up to or trust Madison...I still felt she was using Lillian and knew she could because Lillian adored her, and Madison had the money to demand what she wanted.

Madison's husband was even more unlikable. I would catch on fire if I were Lillian because of the anger I would feel toward Jasper and Madison and how they treat people and their own children.

I recommend NOTHING TO SEE HERE just so readers can experience Mr. Wilson's marvelous writing and storytelling skills.

This book will hold your interest simply because of the unique topic and because of the care and love Lillian gives the children.

I hope you enjoy it if you read it.

This book is heartwarming as well as heartbreaking. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Betty Taylor

Delightful story
This book took off slowly as the backstory of Lillian and Madison’s friendship is laid out. Madison grew up in the lap of luxury, while Lillian came from a low-income home, daughter of a single mother. Lillian received a scholarship to study at an exclusive school and had Madison as her roommate. Now years later Madison, the wife of Tennessee Senator Jasper Roberts, asks Lillian to be the governess for Jasper’s children by his second wife. But there is a big catch here – the children have a tendency to burst into flames when agitated. I almost gave up on the book because the premise of “fire children” began to seem really corny. But about a quarter of the way into the book the children took stage and everything changed. At that point I was sucked into the story as these children quickly wormed their way into my heart.

Lillian moves into the Roberts’ guesthouse with the 10-year-old twins Jasper and Bessie. Author Kevin Wilson made these unusual children distrustful of others, vulnerable and adorable. Lillian is sassy, as socially inept as the children, and not at all impressed with riches. She can relate to these children and is overwhelmed by the unexpected maternal feelings she develops for them.

I grew to like the character Carl, Senator Roberts’ gofer, and absolutely loved Mary, the Roberts’ housekeeper. Nothing fazed that lady. The power of politics is prominent in the story, but the power of love is stronger.

This is a heartbreaking, yet heartwarming and oftentimes humorous story. Thank you HarperCollins for the opportunity to read and review this delightful book.

Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)

Oh, we need to talk about Kevin Wilson
From the cover through the last page, there was a lot to see and enjoy here. The central conceit - children who burst into flame when agitated - belies the lightness and sweetness of the central relationship of children and caregiver. There are no true monsters here. Misguided adults, yes, but those are a dime a dozen in fiction and real life. Highly recommend!

Cassandra E. (Bonita Springs, FL)

Nothing to See Here
Not sure where he got the idea of the title but what a delightful book. I don't think I could have done what Lillian did. Her boring life became anything but boring. Helping out an old friend who took advantage of her years ago, does it again. The kids didn't have a normal upbringing and the bursting in flames at strange times was not their fault. All Lillian wanted to bring some normal everyday life to the kids. Not sure what to do she just winged it. I think she was trying to be what she had wanted her mom to do. Just be a mom and it had not happened. Lillian was going to be a mom. I think she do a great job. With all that went on in one summer she did a pretty good job. And the youngest was added to the pot, but Madison stepped up to the plate. As some one had said, all's well that ends well. Happy Ending.

Kenan R. (Liberty, MO)

All the Feels!
Charming, quirky, delightful... I am probably the 367th person who has used these adjectives to describe Kevin Wilson's book, but I am at a loss as to what other words could suffice. Parenting is often a job of degrees. What can I do to keep my kid from bursting into flames - metaphorically for most of us, but quite literally for protagonist Lillian. We strive to maintain a balance, keeping them safe and happy while letting them be as much themselves as the possibly can be. I think Mr. Wilson's enchanting (another adjective!) tale articulates perfectly the ennui of parenting, the giant wallop upside the head loving your kiddos is, and the constant worry that you are doing it all wrong. This novel could have gone over-the-top insane really quickly, and instead was a fantastic and heartwarming treatise on love, friendship, and being OK with the "weird" in the people you care about.

Jamie K. (Berkeley, CA)

Plenty to See Here
I love this quirky, honest, and thoroughly enjoyable read. The plot, although predictable at times, rings with humor and heart as it explores the intricacies of trust, acceptance, success, and above all, what it means to be a parent. Life gets very complicated when Lilian is asked by longtime, but not recently seen, high school friend Madison to be a temporary caretaker for a pair of twins moving into the mansion she shares with her senator husband (their father) and young son Timothy. Easy-peasy, except for one thing— these guys have an unusual habit of spontaneously combusting when agitated or angered. The twins and Lilian see this as a gift; the senator who dreams of a greater political future— sees it as a liability, and Madison, she just doesn't know what to think.

Nothing to See Here is full of surprises. The characters are well conceived and believable (as believable as children catching on fire can be), and the plot so unique, that with some twists and turns and some very good writing, it shows you that when you play with fire, you're never quite sure who's going to get burned.

...31 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Kevin Wilson Author Biography

Photo: Leigh Anne Couch

Kevin Wilson is the author of the novels The Family Fang, a New York Times bestseller and a best book of the year in Time, People, Salon, and Esquire; and Perfect Little World. His story collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, received an Alex Award from the American Library Association as well as the Shirley Jackson Award. He teaches fiction at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and two sons.

Link to Kevin Wilson's Website

Other books by Kevin Wilson at BookBrowse
  • Tunneling to the Center of the Earth jacket
  • The Family Fang jacket
  • Perfect Little World jacket

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