May 21, 2020
Nothing to See Here
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
Read by Marin Ireland
Finished on May 15, 2020
Rating: 4.5/5 (Great!)
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.
Never judge a book by its cover or its outrageously unbelievable premise. When I first noticed Nothing to See Here on one or two of my favorite blogs, I quickly dismissed it simply based on the cover art. Yet, more and more readers started posting glowing reviews on their blogs and Goodreads and my interest was finally piqued. I remember when the same thing happened with Ready Player One and that audiobook turned out to be one of my all-time favorites. Now, almost eight years later, Kevin Wilson's novel has joined the ranks of unexpected pleasures. His humorous, touching story was such a pleasant surprise. If you enjoy heartfelt, yet unconventional, relationships between children and their caretakers, Nothing to See Here is just the book for you. Lillian's devotion and love toward Bessie and Roland is reminiscent of that between Alice and Frank (Be Frank with Me) and Aibileen and Mae Mobley (The Help). Your heartstrings will be tugged, but you will also burst out laughing, as I did as I read all three of these novels.
I thoroughly enjoyed Wilson's quirky story, but it was Marin Ireland's outstanding performance that truly won me over. Apparently, I'm not the only happy listener. It turns out that Ireland is a 2020 Audie winner for best female narrator and after listening to this book, I couldn't agree more. I wonder if I would have laughed out loud as much as I did had I read the print edition; Ireland's timing and tone are spot on. I can't wait to try more audiobooks read by her. Oh, and of course, I'll try more books by Kevin Wilson. Any recommendations?
"Narrator Marin Ireland flawlessly introduces listeners to Lillian and Madison, two unlikely friends separated after a boarding school scandal.... Drawing from a seemingly endless supply of character voices, Ireland immerses listeners in this magical yet weird family, exquisitely capturing every unusual layer of the story.... Ireland and Wilson leave a lasting impression and provide a thoroughly entertaining experience." (AudioFile Magazine)