A hilarious ode to outcasts, simmering with adorable weirdness. You'll laugh and cringe and root for the oddest of heroes.
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Why I love it
Founder, Sarah's Book Shelves
I usually like my fiction firmly rooted in reality, so I was nervous about a book featuring children who catch fire when distressed. However, I’m a mother, so I appreciate this metaphor. What parent hasn’t witnessed an epic tantrum where your child starts to resemble the girl from The Exorcist?
Years ago, Lillian, a scholarship kid, and Madison, an heiress, became friends at their Tennessee boarding school. Fast forward to the present day, we find Lillian toiling in a low-wage job while Madison is married to a U.S. Senator and fabulously rich. When she asks Lillian to serve as “governess” for her ten-year-old stepchildren, it seems like all Lillian has to do is keep the kids happy—and free of flames—while Senator Roberts guns for Secretary of State. Can Lillian manage the situation without letting their secret get out? Can anyone love these children? And, what will happen to Lillian and Madison’s friendship?
This book is pure brain candy—dark, sassy, and full of heart. I felt for these lonely children and chuckled at Lillian’s filter-free commentary on the eccentricities of rich people. A sweet, warm book with a bit of spice.
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?
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Woodland Park , CO
The voice is everything and the sad/funny situations-each character nails it— they do exactly what they should do in this expertly created bonkers universe. I ❤️Lillian and the strange kids who blaze
Ewa Beach, HI
So well written; emotional, funny, witty. The minute those kids come into the story it’s immediately great. I wish Lillian hadn’t been so obsessed with Madison, it was odd. Still a great book, though.
I started this and thought “ugh another lady babysitting two kids” - oddly something Ive read so much of. But MAN. This book completely surprised and endeared me to it in ways i did not expect. Loved!
Oklahoma City, OK
This book was unbelievably exciting. I loved a flawed main character who’s integrity and loyalty shines through. Speaking of shining, those kids catch on fire, wow. I couldn’t wait to share this book!
Not my genre, and probably wouldn’t have picked it if the choices were a bit different, but I opened my mind and I’m so glad I did. This book was funny and a beautiful metaphor for parenting. Loved it
I got it as an October add-on because BOTM has AMAZING customer service and reached out w/ a bonus credit when I didn’t like last month’s read. It EXCEEDED my expectations! So smart + funny + quirky!
If I wasn’t laughing out loud, I was smiling at the craziness of this story and the ruminations of the main character. She’s quirky but you root for her because, unbeknownst to her, she has a heart.
Oklahoma City , OK
This is a super weird storyline. I’ve never read anything like this plot. I liked the way the main character didn’t know much about kids but did such a good job spending time with and protecting the
Just loved the relationship between Lilian and the fire children. They found each other when they needed to most, and it was very sweet in their own super messy way. Also, loved Housekeeper/cook Mary????
Probably one of my most favorite BOTM selections that I threw in my box at the last second. Quirky and quick little read. Loved Lillian’s character; my heart ached for the kids; Team Mary for life ????
Woodland Hills, CA
This book surprised me in so many ways. When describing the basic plot to a friend it sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually both a great love story and coming of age story. Loved from start to finish.
Hop Bottom, PA
I absolutely loved this book. It took a look at the political life and the lengths they’ll go to in order to look perfect as well as giving a story of two children and a woman that just want to belong
I didnt like this book at first because the back story of the friends was written like the author knew nothing about how girls behave. It was strange. Once it got into the meat of the story I was hooked
Per usual, Kevin Wilson is hilarious and heartfelt. This is not an absurdist book about family—its a book about family, which is inherently absurd. A quick read that can be knocked out in one sitting.
El dorado, KS
I absolutely adored this book!. I think the kids catching on fire was just a great add in to the story. You have these 2 women from different walks of life and they play so well off each other. Worth it
To say that I adored this book would be an understatement. It is such a charming and witty little novel. It quickly became one of my favorite books of all time! I read ALL of Wilson’s work after this!
Although this is an unusual pick for my taste, it felt refreshing & “warm” (fun pun). Relatable characters, humor, heartache, & raw human emotion that all came together to form lovely storytelling.
I loved this book. Didn’t expect to but it was the easiest book to fly through while laughing out loud but also really stopping to think about the relationships that were developing. Would recommend!
I actually did laugh out loud while reading the first half of this book. I love stories with children and these two kids - three actually - are all lovable. Protagonist is someone you want to succeed
Costa Mesa, CA
Such a fun read! I really wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I did, the writing was so fun and didn’t take itself seriously which was refreshing. Imaginative story and characters. Loved!