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Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
Literary fiction

Nothing to See Here

Repeat author

Kevin Wilson is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Perfect Little World.

Early Release

This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait to read it.

by Kevin Wilson

Excellent choice

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Quick take

A hilarious ode to outcasts, simmering with adorable weirdness. You'll laugh and cringe and root for the oddest of heroes.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky

    Quirky

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Magical

    Magical

Synopsis

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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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Nothing to See Here.
Nothing to See Here

One

In the late spring of 1995, just a few weeks after I'd turned twenty-eight, I got a letter from my friend Madison Roberts. I still thought of her as Madison Billings. I heard from Madison four or five times a year, updates on her life that were as foreign to me as reports from the moon, her existence the kind you only read about in magazines. She was married to an older man, a senator, and she had a little boy whom she dressed in nautical suits and who looked like an expensive teddy bear that had turned human. I was working two cashier jobs at competing grocery stores, smoking weed in the attic of my mother’s house because when I had turned eighteen, she had immediately turned my childhood bedroom into a workout room, a huge NordicTrack filling the place where I’d unhappily grown up. I sporadically dated people who didn’t deserve me but thought they did. You can imagine how Madison’s letters were a hundred times more interesting than mine, but we stayed in touch.

This letter had broken up the natural spacing of her correspondence, precise and expected. But that didn’t give me pause. Madison and I did not communicate except on paper. I didn’t even have her phone number.

I was on break at the Save-A-Lot, the first chance I’d had to read the thing, and I opened it to find that Madison wanted me to come to Franklin, Tennessee, where she lived on her husband’s estate, because she had an interesting job opportunity for me. She’d included a fifty-dollar bill for bus fare, because she knew that my car wasn’t great with more than fifteen-mile distances. She wouldn’t say what the job was, though it couldn’t be worse than dealing with food stamps and getting the fucking scale to properly weigh the bruised apples. I used the last five minutes of my break to ask Derek, my boss, if I could have a few days off. I knew he’d say no, and I didn’t begrudge him this refusal. I’d never been the most responsible employee. It was the hard thing about having two jobs: you had to disappoint them at different times and sometimes you lost track of who you’d fucked over worse. I thought about Madison, maybe the most beautiful woman I’d ever met in real life, who was also so weirdly smart, always considering the odds of every scenario. If she had a job for me, I’d take it. I’d leave my mom’s attic. I’d empty out my life because I was honest enough to know that I didn’t have much that I’d miss when it disappeared.

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Why I love it

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.

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Member ratings (11,564)

  • JAYME C.

    LAKE CHARLES, LA

    This book was absolutely ???????????? and I really liked it! It was a BOTM add-on for me and I'm so glad I picked this strange little story. It introduced me to Kevin Wilson who is now one of my favorites.

  • Patty T.

    Colorado Springs, 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

  • Kyle B.

    Brooklyn, NY

    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!

  • Kelsey R.

    New Braunfels, TX

    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.

  • Christina W.

    Anaheim, CA

    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

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