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Evidence of Things Not Seen
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Evidence of Things Not Seen

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  372 ratings  ·  128 reviews
When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. Tommy was adopted, so maybe he ran away to find his birth parents. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in his own thoughts about particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pull-out off the highway, so maybe someone drove u ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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 ·  372 ratings  ·  128 reviews

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Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, ebook
What in the world...

This was really just a bunch of novellas about people either getting raped, beaten, or dying. POVs lasting for one chapter to never be visited again. It was weeeeird. Most stories/characters were not even related at all to the main storyline. Seriously! I don't get it!

Let's start at the beginning. A guy disappears, while learning a bit more about him we find out that he was convinced he could get to alternate dimensions, and we're led to believe that that's where he disappea
SoWrongItsRANDI {Bell, Book & Candle}
Bell, Book & Candle | Evidence of Things Not Seen Review

I feel like I have been conned; a part of some bait-and-switch tactic by the author. I'll admit that I was initially intrigued by the cover (I've always been a sucker for an amazing book cover). Then I read the synopsis, and I was instantly a "easy mark" for Ms Lane, the author. Actually reading the book left me with one thought: what? That's it?

I'm all for the unknown, and I generally appreciate books that explore and take that direction.
Wendy Darling
Disjointed, confusing, and rather bizarre. Each chapter is a different POV from someone often only tangentially related to the missing boy, and as far as I can tell you don't revisit any of those POVs again. It's hard to care about anybody when you only spend a few pages with them, and it's hard to get a feel for the overall mystery/care about the missing boy with this kind of structure, too. AND I really dislike when serious subjects like rape and abuse are just thrown into the plot without any ...more
Jun 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
I was sent this book in a group of potential New Adult titles. I don't know what New Adult is. I thought I did, but apparently not.

But I don't think Evidence of Things Not Seen fits the category however it is sliced. The characters in it are juniors and seniors in high school. It's a mashup of quantum physics and...pain? There is a huge amount of really ugly parent-on-child or uncle-on-child violence, most of it sexual and the VAST majority of it aimed at girls. And I have read painful YA before
I just don't have words for this book. It was one I was really excited for because I loved the synopsis. When I started reading it was just upsetting.

Right away, there's a character who is being forced to have sex with her uncle and cousin, but it must be okay because they tell her they love her and they're "real nice" afterwards. When her mom finds out, the girl is sent away for being a tease. Next there's a girl whose mom sells her for $1000 so she can have sex with a bunch of men. But don't
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is one crazy book.

Its told in alternating POVs, in both first and third person. Gaaawdddd... There were times that it is very confusing, but i loved how it was told. It was like you were watching a psychological thriller movie, only you were reading it. If that makes any sense.

Huge thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) and Netgalley for this ARC!


I tried to like this book, honest. I thought the premise sounded so interesting and different from a lot of mystery novels, which is why I initially requested it. However, what this book really is, is a disjointed mess of prose thrown together in the attempt to weave a story together.

Tommy Smythe goes missing, and everyone has a theory about what happened to him. Everyone also has their own problems and issues to fac
Brittany S.
Started and then shortly thereafter, marked as DNF. Made it about 50 pages in and what in the world is this book. It's only 225 pages long so 50 pages in and we learn nothing about Tommy. Practically nothing except he was nerdy and into weird nerdy things. That about sums it up.
The different POVs in this book (I mean, as far as I made it) were just... weird. I don't mind heavy subjects and serious issues, but to throw in topics of sexual abuse like it was, and seemingly serving no purpose to th
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a complex and thought-provoking story that is told from multiple points of view. It is a mystery, a coming of age story, and a compelling read. When Tommy Smythe disappears during his junior year in high school, some people think he ran away to find his birth parents while others think he is dead. Tommy was always a strange kid; he believes everything is possible until it is proven to be impossible, everything is true until shown to be false. He is also obsessed with particle physics so ...more
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A powerful debut with rich, complex characters that you can't get out of your head.I found myself completely captivated with the disappearance of high school junior Tommy Smythe and eager to solve the mystery through the clues he left behind and the people that intersected his life.

This story has caused me to consider the impact my decisions and choices have on the people who surround me and intersect my life. How as Tommy said, "We leave pieces of ourselves everywhere. Every time we meet someo
Cover design.

This is how you do it.
Shae McDaniel
Originally reviewed at

A few weeks ago I tweeted about that feeling you get when you finish a book that you know is going to be a pain and a half to review. This is that book. Whether the book is good or not seems irrelevant at the moment, because I don't know how to get you through what this book is to make any kind of value judgment. I will say that it is definitely unlike most books I read.

The heart of the book, technically, is Tommy Smythe, a boy obses
I tried to like this book, I really did. I even read almost half-way through before giving up and skimming over the remaining chapters. It's written from alternating perspectives and switched back and forth between first and third person perspectives.


This book doesn't really have a main plot, it's just a bunch of short stories that tie in from having an object related to Tommy, or sometimes even another previous short story. The main "plot" was tied together so thinly, it might as well have not
Feb 03, 2014 added it
Shelves: 2014
I DNF this one. I got about 1/3 of the way through and then looked at a few reviews which uncovered that this book is full of short one chapter novellas that don't really tie into the overall storyline. I don't understand why this book was written like that and I just don't feel the need to find out. All the science stuff went over my head also and I just had to drop it. ...more
This is a did not finish review.

Unfortunately, this book was not for me. It could be my mood, but I was not able to get into it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for a review copy of this book.
joey (thoughts and afterthoughts)
[See the full review at thoughts and afterthoughts.]

Rating: 2.25/5
Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:
- Open, interpretative narratives about the realities of life masked behind the mystery of Tommy’s disappearance. Some are coming-of-age stories with limited scope, others are charming tales of family, but they’re all uniquely independent lives with tangible difficulties
– Twenty very different narrators joined by the six-degrees of separation to Tommy Smythe; reads l
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was a good idea but not well done. It’s really interesting in theory, but it was all over the place! I HATED how all the characters were sooo stereotyped. If I saw the word geek one more time I was going to die. There were no interesting or surprising dynamics about these characters and the main character is what.. a robot?? This was just a read to take a breather between long books. I wasn’t expecting much so i can’t say I’m disappointed. This idea rewritten with a few changes.. I’d b ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

For more reviews, Cover Snark and more, visit A Reader of Fictions.

One thing I can say for certain is that Evidence of Things Not Seen is like no book I’ve read before. It’s not often I can say that, but I love when it happens. Even when I don’t like the book, I’m sort of awe-struck by the books that manage to be completely original. Also, I’m generally gaping because they’re really strange, and I’m curious how anyone ever came up with that idea. Lindsey Lane’s debut is l
Kathy Martin
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN is more a collection of short stories than it is a novel. Each of the chapters features a different character and most of them are connected in some way to the disappearance of high school junior Tommy Smythe. They went to school with him; they saw him around town riding his motorbike named Ruby. We learn quite a bit about Tommy through many of these other characters. The one think we don't learn is what happened to him.

Through each chapter we learn about the lives -
Jackie (No Bent Spines)
Thank you publisher and Netgalley for granting me a copy to review. In no way did this influence my opinion.
More reviews on No Bent Spines

First off, those two stars mean nothing. In reality I really don't know what to think of this book. Full review to come ~

EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN starts with a boy who lives in his head, takes everything all too seriously, but is content- happy even- missing. Nobody knows where he went. I mean, sure everyone has their theories. Along the books ‘plot’ pe
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ellen-s-reviews
When I read the blurb of Evidence of Things Not Seen, I was quite excited. Disappearances, particle physics and parallel universes are themes bound to attract my attention, but, sadly, I was quite disappointed. Tommy Smith disappears, maybe into one of the alternate dimensions he believed in, and a whole lot of people confess that, yes, he was weird but likable.

Firstly, I don't even see this as a novel but rather a collection of short stories centered round a specific setting and basic plot. Bec
Laurie Thompson
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult-teen
This is one of those novels that will stick with you for a long, long time. Many of the individual stories surrounding the disappearance of teenager Tommy Smythe from a small town are still rattling around my heart and mind, as is the interconnected whole and its themes of fate/destiny, choice/self-determination, coincidence/luck, and how our lives overlap with those of others around us in so many known and unknown ways. Unflinching in its examination of the darker sides of human nature, I highl ...more
Jul 19, 2014 marked it as dnf
Seen at Bookish Antics!
I quit this book after 20% or so because I just can’t seem to strike up any interest in this novel. There are so many point-of-views in this short novel, none of which are all that interesting to me. What I’ve read of this novel just doesn’t flow right because each POV adds another side-story and none of them really connect. The reviews aren’t encouraging either, several friends have of mine were disappointed by this one and I see no reason for me to continue this one.
Joshua McCune
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Told from multiple POVs (20), this unique, superbly written novel revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a physics boy-genius likely suffering form a case of Asperger's. Beautiful, complex, and honest, this wonderful debut interweaves storylines full of intrigue, emotion, and murder with fundamental matters of the not seen (faith and science blended subtly and masterfully). Highly recommended. ...more
Samantha Clark
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Love the characterizations in this book. It's a different type of story, almost vignettes that are linked with a thread of a missing boy. Each vignette has different characters, and sometimes the actions of some characters affect other characters in future vignettes. It's like a study of stories around a road pull-out, and Lindsey Lane is a master at showing us who these characters are. I look forward to more books by her. ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-review, ya, mystery
After closing this, I immediately said out loud "what a weird fucking book." I mean, I liked it and thought it was unique. However, it's also weird.
Read the rest of my review here
May 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
One star for the book and one for the old couple's story. I don't even think this should be considered a novel. It felt more like a bunch of short stories and I only liked one of them. ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review for Lone Star Literary Life.

Going into Evidence of Things Not Seen, I was expecting a good mystery and a captivating story. I knew the narration was told from multiple perspectives, so I was a little wary because it's such a difficult thing for a writer to successfully pull-off. Author Lindsey Lane pulled it off and made it easy to keep up with the different narrators.

As I delved in to the story, I found myself becoming more and m
Jan 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: to-read-own

I am just... so confused after finishing this book. Part of it may be a bit of a mind-fog I'm in due to being sick, but I just have so many questions. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a book that makes you think and leaves you pondering, but here I was left wondering if there was even a plot to this book. It seemed like a nice idea at first, telling the stories of people in a town in Texas through their individual prose, r
Rebecca Rakes
This book was not at all what I was expecting. In both good and bad ways.
I was expecting a series of short stories or novella surrounding the disappearance of a boy. It really wasn't that. It was more about a location. A patch of road called the Pull Out that he disappeared on.
I was hoping to see how the disappearance of a boy could effect those around him. How one random thing could change and alter these lives that he wouldn't have even known he could effect.
Instead you got a bunch of r
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Lindsey Lane is an award-winning playwright, journalist, and author. She is the author of young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), picture book Snuggle Mountain (Clarion), and her short stories have been published in the literary journal, Hunger Mountain. She earned her BA in Theater Arts from Hampshire College and her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults fr ...more

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52 likes · 19 comments
“Looking at the birds together in the same moment was the conversation. I mean, if you’re with a guy who is thinking that each person, each thing contains waves of possibilities and those possibilities might exist in alternate dimensions, then you can kind of see how being together seeing the same thing at the same time is a pretty big deal.” 5 likes
“He would get tripped up in simple conversation. When I’d leave the art room and I’d say something like, “See you next time.” Instead of saying, “Okay,” he’d say, “What next time?” It’s like he had to be superliteral about everything because he was thinking in so many different dimensions. So if I said something casual or unspecific, it caused like static in his brain and he had to stop and tune the channel.” 3 likes
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