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Nothing to See Here: A Read with Jenna Pick (Paperback)

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Nothing to See Here: A Read with Jenna Pick By Kevin Wilson Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

I was kind of aimlessly waiting for a book to take hold of me, wandering in and out of books but couldn't find one that would hold my attention, until I picked up this book.  I was sort of at a standstill; a drought.  And, since I'm in love with using clichés; a spark ignited, and I consumed this book.  We meet Lillian at face value; inhabiting an attic in her mother's home.  She gets asked by her former roommate to come to her estate, as she has a job for Lillian.  The job?  Watching Madison's two step kids.  The catch?  They combust and burst into flames, without hurting themselves.  How genius, novel, and witty of a twist is that?!  Like, let's just add this to the mix, and see how this changes things.  What are the problems that could arise?  It's so endearing seeing Lillian grow so attached and protective of these two little weirdly, wonderful children.  Kevin Wilson's writing is exciting in the way that a cigar could just be a cigar, or that cigar (aka his writing), could be more.  It leaves us to ponder with questions.  Does Kevin Wilson mean more?  It sparks much larger conversations; what does it mean to have your life changed by children?  When it isn't solely your own?  When you're caring for two little beings, and not just yourself?  How does your life change?  How does the meaning and value of your life change?  How is your life enhanced when caring for two little, fire-y ones?  This book was combustible.  -Ashley

— From Ashley's Picks

Kevin Wilson's natural, funny writing can make the weirdest, implausible things seem possible. He did it in The Family Fang about a family of performance artists. In Nothing to See Here, aimless, and depressed Lillian is asked by her old college roommate to take care of her two stepchildren.  The hitch: when the children get angry or discombobulated in any way they, well, combust. (nb. They are not hurt by the flames they emit.) Lillian becomes fiercely attached to these odd fiery little children and learns, by dealing with their eccentricities and becoming their advocate, the value of caring for others.  -Carin

— From More of Carin's Reviews (mid-2021 & earlier)

November 2019 Indie Next List

“When a politician’s young wife hires her old school friend as a nanny for her two stepchildren, the main duty will be to keep the twins out of sight and out of trouble. That’s because the kids’ father is a senator and under serious consideration to be the next Secretary of State. But what if the children can’t control themselves? Who is the best person to take care of children who are afflicted with spontaneous combustion? Obviously, a woman with no fear of fire, nothing to lose, and nothing to gain. At turns hilarious and heartbreaking, this unique novel explores family dynamics, resentment, and retribution, leaving the reader with a new perspective on motherhood and what it means to be loyal to those you love.”
— Laura Simcox, Sunrise Books, High Point, NC

Winter 2020 Reading Group Indie Next List

“After fleeing her usatisfying life to help an old friend, Lillian finds herself in charge of two children who spontaneously burst into flames. Lillian surprises herself by developing a fondness and a fierce protectiveness for her charges. Although her new responsibilities terrify her, Lillian discovers the beauty of feeling needed and of developing connections. A perfect novel to inspire anyone searching for their place in the world!”
— Jane Stiles, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA


New York Times Bestseller  •  A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times Book ReviewThe Washington PostPeopleEntertainment WeeklyUSA TodayTIME, The A.V. Club, Buzzfeed, and PopSugar

“I can’t believe how good this book is.... It’s wholly original. It’s also perfect.... Wilson writes with such a light touch.... The brilliance of the novel [is] that it distracts you with these weirdo characters and mesmerizing and funny sentences and then hits you in a way you didn’t see coming. You’re laughing so hard you don’t even realize that you’ve suddenly caught fire.” —Taffy Brodesser-Akner, author of Fleishman is in TroubleNew York Times Book Review

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Family Fang, a moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with a remarkable ability.

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.

About the Author

Kevin Wilson is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Nothing to See Here, which was a Read with Jenna book club selection; The Family Fang, which was adapted into an acclaimed film starring Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman; and Perfect Little World; as well as the story collections Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award; and Baby, You’re Gonna Be Mine. His fiction has appeared in PloughsharesSouthern ReviewOne StoryA Public Space, and Best American Short Stories. He lives in Sewanee, Tennessee, with his wife and two sons.

Praise For…

“I can’t believe how good this book is. . . . Wholly original. It’s also perfect. . . . Wilson writes with such a light touch. . . . That’s the brilliance of the novel—that it distracts you with these weirdo characters and mesmerizing and funny sentences and then hits you in a way you didn’t see coming.” — Taffy Brodesser-Akner, The New York Times Book Review

“A peculiar, entertaining and insightful book about the hazards of child-rearing and the value of friends.”  — People

"[Wilson’s] most perfect novel. Paradoxically light and melancholy, it hews to the border of fantasy but stays in the land of realism. . . . You can sense the real heat radiating off these pages. . . . This novel may seem slight and quirky, but don’t be fooled. There’s a lot to see here."
Washington Post

“It’s a giddily lunatic premise, one that author Kevin Wilson grounds with humor and deadpan matter-of-factness. . . . Wilson’s observational humor is riotous in its specificity. . . . The writing dazzles. . . . But what dazzles most are the warmly rendered dynamics of an ad hoc, dysfunctional family that desperately wants to work.”  — USA Today

“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

A pleasing blend of tartness and tenderness. . . . . Wilson’s ability to capture such tangled sentiments makes him a thoroughly engaging and appealing writer. — Boston Globe

Darkly funny yet quietly devastating. . . . Wilson crafts a stunning portrait of the push and pull of parenthood. — Time

"Funny and even eerily beautiful. . . . It’s the sweetness of this novel that will melt you." —

Perennially weird and wonderful. . . . Wilson’s portrayal of these fire children conveys more emotional truth about life with a difficult or neurodivergent kid than any of those parenting guides. . . . Funny and affecting. — Minneapolis Star Tribune

“[A] deadpan, hilarious modern fairy tale.”  — Newsday

“Wilson’s latest is outlandish and laugh-out-loud funny.”  — Parade

“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

Kevin Wilson once again dazzles with a bizarre, comic, and heartbreaking tale. . . . A dryly comic, surreal phantasmagoria reminiscent of Kafka, Garcia-Marquez, and their heirs, from David Foster Wallace to Karen Russell. — Chapter 16

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

“Wilson is a remarkable writer…. A funny and touching fable about love for kids, even the ones on fire.”  — Kirkus Reviews

“A love letter to the weirdness and difficulties of children and of parenting, with or without spontaneous human combustion. . . . [With] an easy, engaging voice, cynical and funny without being caustic. Like the author’s The Family Fang, this is another story of a family that is as delightfully bizarre as it is heartfelt and true.”  — Library Journal

“Lillian tells the story, revealing immediately that she’s another of Wilson’s normal extraordinary protagonists. . . . She fills the book with her wry humor and large, embracing heart.”  — Booklist

“Laugh out loud funny. I love the way Kevin Wilson writes.” — Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award winner

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062913494
ISBN-10: 0062913492
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: September 1st, 2020
Pages: 288
Language: English

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