Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nothing to See Here” as Want to Read:
Nothing to See Here
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Nothing to See Here

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  7,178 ratings  ·  1,213 reviews

A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

“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

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Ecco
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,178 ratings  ·  1,213 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Nothing to See Here
“This is weird, Madison. You want me to raise your husband’s fire children.”

i won this through the gr giveaways but i didn’t read it right away—choosing instead to read ARCs of books that were coming out before this one, then delaying it further for my horror-only october bookplan. i thought i had plenty of time before it pubbed because i saw this on the side of the ARC:

and misunderstood it to mean it was pubbing on the 19th of november instead of in november 2019. which i now realize is a
Larry H
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This is truly an odd, funny, poignant book about finding a place and people with whom you belong, and how family can spring from the strangest of situations.

"How did people protect themselves? How did anyone keep this world from ruining them?"

Lillian has always accepted that she won’t accomplish much in life. For a brief moment in her teenage years, however, she attended a private high school and befriended Madison, a beautiful but quirky rich girl, and Lillian started to believe she had
This book was a freaking balm on my soul. You have to understand, I have been completely SWAMPED in the waters of Moby Dick and the meandering ramblings of Midnight's Children - I know... WHAT WAS I THINKING?? But this book, folks, this book is short, (darkly) funny, and easily holds your interest. There are no dissertations on whaling to be found here, or a dizzyingly long character list. Never, at any point, did a hopelessness descend on me, or existential questions assault me (will I ever ...more
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[4.5] The idea of a plot involving two kids who spontaneously ignite when they get anxious didn't sound appealing to me. But I was wrong. I loved the main character, Lillian, an outsider who is stuck in her life until an old friend calls for her help. I loved the way Wilson portrayed the two very likable kids - who have been unfairly treated by their family because of their unusual ability (or disability).

I was pulled into this novel from the first pages and got up for air only to help prepare
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lillian had "a desire to be superlative...a sterling representative of this backward county"... when she won a scholarship to prestigious Iron Mountain Girls Preparatory School. Lillian and her roommate Madison became fast friends despite the fact that upper crust Madison "...had been raised since birth to recognize importance. [Lillian] was not that." However, Lillian and Madison needed each other. They strived to "tamp down their weirdness." Madison acknowledged that rich people "... had to be ...more

Originally I came across this book when I was reading the excerpts in the Buzz Books 2019 Fall / Winter collection of the best stories to look out for in the coming months. It sounded promising, but it took me a while to request this since this is an author I wasn’t familiar with. I’m glad that I did, even more so when I saw the author’s Dedication – ”For Ann Patchett and Julie Barer” having recently spent time in another world courtesy of Ann Patchett.

Madison is the daughter
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Told in first person, our main character and narrator Lillian travels to see her friend, Madison, who has a job offer for her. It isn't until after she accepts the job as governess to Madison's step-children that Madison tells her the kids burst into flames when they feel angry or frustrated.

The fire children do not make an appearance until 26% (on a Kindle). The first 1-7% is the foundation of Lillian and Madison's relationship. This includes how the met, their school-girl-days, and their
This book is a really interesting story about this girl who becomes a nanny for these kids who catch on fire when they get upset. This premise is super unique and I’ve never read anything quite like it. I enjoyed this story and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just not particularly memorable for me. Here’s some thoughts I jotted down after finishing it:

-This book was interesting and sweet but kind of forgettable
-I love that the main character is so sarcastic and awkward,
I’m on a great roll with my audible selections! Listening to “Nothing to See Here” by Kevin Wilson, narrated by Marin Ireland was 6 hours and 40 minutes of total joy. Marin Ireland captured the essence of the novel’s narrator, Lillian. In a pitch perfect southern accent full of ennui, Ms. Ireland encapsulates Lillian’s apathy towards life. Ireland also does a fantastic job of giving voice to the other characters.

When the story opens, Lillian has been contacted by her freshman high school
Elyse (retired from reviewing/semi hiatus) Walters
The responsible adults in charge needed to come up with a plan.....
....the fire children’s mother died.
*Fire* children - you ask?

read by the ‘outstanding’ Marin Ireland.

Marin Ireland, made this book come ‘alive’!!!!
The ranges in her voice sounded completely different for each character.
She was fantastic with the children’s voices.

The children, ( twins Bessie & Rolan), & Lillian ( unique governess), stole my heart.

Quirky and moving!!!


It takes a lot of skill for an author to write a book about children bursting into flames and do it in a way that makes it not only believable, but endearing. I absolutely loved this quirky, funny, and sweet story.

Lillian hears from Madison, her old friend and roommate, asking for a favor. The two have a checkered history, with Madison being blessed with beauty and wealth, while Lillian, having neither, does Madison’s bidding, getting nothing in return. This time the favor is asking
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

I really enjoyed The Family Fang this year, so when I heard that Kevin Wilson had a new release coming out I made sure to put my name on the library hold list well before pub day to guarantee I’d be at the top of the heap. Now that I’ve finished I have this to say . . . . .

Lillian has a history of bailing Madison out of a jam, so she’s exactly the person who gets called when Madison’s twin stepchildren are in need of a “governess.”
Book of the Month
Why I love it
by Sarah Dickinson

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
Jessica Woodbury
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, best-2019-arcs
Full disclosure: I have not read any Kevin Wilson books before. They looked kind of like the book versions of Wes Anderson movies, rather pretentious and twee. I have no idea if that is a fair assessment, it is just how they struck me. But the hook of this book got my attention and I thought it would be a good one to dip my toes into. Then I was really shocked by how quickly this book burrowed its way into my heart.

I have had a run of insomnia lately, so I mostly read this book in the middle of
Anna Luce
4.5 stars

“I had the children. They caught on fire. I had to keep them from catching on fire.”

As soon as I read Kevin Wilson's dedication (“for Ann Patchett”) I had a feeling that I was in for a treat (and I was right).
There was something about Wilson's surrealism that reminded me a bit of Charlie Kaufman's films (in Synecdoche, New York a character moves into a house that is permanently on fire). Comparisons to Wes Anderson would also not be amiss (dysfunctional families + parental
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Because I kept fucking up, because it seemed so hard to not fuck up, I lived a life where I had less than what I desired. So instead of wanting more, sometimes I just made myself want even less. Sometimes I made myself believe that I wanted nothing.”

Yep, get use to it. There is a lot of dropping the f bomb in this story and for awhile I, too, was going to drop this story right into my dnf file. But, then thanks to the encouragement of my great book pal, Jan, I continued and was glad that I
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The weirdest thing about Nothing to See Here is that, in a novel about spontaneous human combustion, not much happens. Once the wacky premise—fire children! 10-year-olds whose bad moods cause them to go up in literal flames!—has been set up, it isn’t fully exploited. If you’ve spent any time around tweens I’m sure you can think of many, many directions this idea could go, but Wilson seems content to just let the story coast.

These little incendiaries hang out in the pool, bond with their nanny
Absolutely one of the most fantastic stories I've ever heard!!!! Hilarious, dear and so outside the lines, the metaphor hugs you tight through the very last word, and a cinching tug with that last punctuating period.

Fantastic. What else is out there by Kevin Wilson???? I want more of this!
Ron Charles
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kevin Wilson scrapes away all the cloying sentimentality that so often sticks to young characters. The 10-year-old twins at the center of his new novel, “Nothing to See Here,” burst into actual flames whenever they get angry or agitated. Such pyrotechnics sound like something from the macabre world of Stephen King — another author who knows children — but that’s the most wonderful aspect of Wilson’s story: It’s entirely true to life . . . except that now and then, the kids spontaneously combust. ...more
Lark Benobi
Here is a big wide space-saver for my re-read of this novel, beginning now, because often when i react very badly to a novel the first time, it means I've missed the boat somehow. I'm going to try the audio version this time. more to come.

(view spoiler)
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this was a quick, involving and fun read, it is also something of a 'one-trick pony' - there really isn't much to it beyond the central conceit. And I kept wondering if there were some deeper meaning or symbolism behind the spontaneously combusting children that I was missing - and finally had to come to the conclusion that ... there WASN'T!

Although definitely quirky, for something that was touted as 'LOL-funny' - sorry, I chuckled a few times, but never actually laughed. And although
Betsy Robinson
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was an actress in my 20s, I took voice lessons with an old German man named Mr. Jacobi. I was a terrible singer, but it was okay. I wasn't learning to sing. I was learning to use my voice to its full potential. I knew this because one of Mr. Jacobi's favorite things to say after he sat down at the piano and leaned on the first chord was, "We accept here." That meant that no matter what sound I made, it was fine with both of us.

"We accept here." That could be the philosophy expressed by
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Did Madison choose Lillian to be her friend because of the differences in their upbringing?

Did Madison choose Lillian to be her friend because it was convenient for her?

Or did Madison choose Lillian to be her friend because she needed a true friend?

The reason wasn’t clear, but in my opinion what Madison did to Lillian was unforgivable even though they did remain friends.

After many years of still staying in touch, Madison offers Lillian a job as the nanny to the children of her husband and
Such an enjoyable book. I’ve not previously read this author but there’s something about his writing that obviously does it for me. He’s got a new fan and I’ve got a new book on my wish list!

“Wealth could normalize just about anything.”
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOTHING TO SEE HERE is definitely a different type of novel for me, and I really enjoyed it. Two friends get together when one calls the other to help with her step-children. The problem with the children is that they catch fire when agitated. The fire does not burn the children, just anything else. This book is filled with humor and is a feel good novel. I recommend this book!
Laura Peden
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, audiobooks
Quirky, snarky little number. I adored it.
Glenda Ricord
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Today, I am reviewing “Nothing To See Here” by Kevin Wilson.

A quote from the book that describes Lillian's thoughts as she enters the elite preparatory school for the first time:

” As I walked to my dorm, I realized that the other girls didn’t even look at me, and I could tell that it wasn’t out of meanness. I don’t think they even saw me; their eyes had been trained since birth to recognize the importance. I wasn’t that.”

My Thoughts:

I liked this book so much more than I expected to. I tried to
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: odt
Nothing to See Here is a tricky one to review. I got plenty of enjoyment from my reading but it was akin to ripping into candy floss after a diet of kale. Upon first glance it is entirely bonkers and refreshingly deadpan with its delivery. Yes, it is about two 10 year-olds that can spontaneously ignite, it is a bit of an inconvenience but hey, who doesn't have problems ?. The book is what I like to think of as endearingly non-taxing, almost an adult fairly tale. In terms of tone, this was in ...more
Thank you, Netgalley and Harper Collins/Ecco for sending me a digital ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

It's hard to believe this is my first novel I've read from Kevin Wilson. Wow. He's a fantastic storyteller! Now I want to go back and read everything he was written prior to "Nothing to See Here".

I love quirky novels. And this one is definitely quirky and then some! There's magical realism as well. The novel opens in the mid '90s in Franklin, Tennessee. 28 year-old, semi-slacker, Lillian
Ararita Valenta
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is not the best book in the world that you will ever read, but it is filled with humor and it will give you all the warm feelings for those two kids. And Lillian.

Do not expect something that will blow your mind, but this book will keep you company for a day or two :)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson - 4 Stars 2 9 Dec 07, 2019 02:45AM  
#ReadWithJenna: Questions for Nothing to See Here author, Kevin Wilson 1 31 Nov 22, 2019 12:23PM  
IBIS Read and Review: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson 2 4 Nov 22, 2019 10:22AM  
#ReadWithJenna: Question of the Week (3) 2 45 Nov 18, 2019 04:05PM  
#ReadWithJenna: Question of the Week (2) 2 53 Nov 17, 2019 01:35PM  
#ReadWithJenna: Question of the Week (1) 4 70 Nov 17, 2019 01:34PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Dutch House
  • The Family Upstairs
  • Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me
  • The Dearly Beloved
  • All This Could Be Yours
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)
  • The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness
  • The Giver of Stars
  • Olive, Again
  • This Tender Land
  • Dominicana
  • Red at the Bone
  • The Reckless Oath We Made
  • The Secrets We Kept
  • The Whisper Man
  • If Only I Could Tell You
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over
  • The Grammarians
See similar books…
Kevin Wilson was born, raised, and still lives in Tennessee. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, Greensboro Review, The Oxford American, Carolina Quarterly and elsewhere. His work has twice been included in the New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best anthology (2005, 2006). He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the KHN Center for the Arts. A ...more
“Because I kept fucking up, because it seemed so hard to not fuck up, I lived a life where I had less than what I desired. So instead of wanting more, sometimes I just made myself want even less. Sometimes I made myself believe that I wanted nothing.” 2 likes
“Something was ending. Even if it had been awful, my life was ending, and it felt like this wasn't my life anymore. It was someone else's. And I had decided that I'd just live inside it, see if anyone noticed, and maybe it would become mine. Maybe I would love it.” 0 likes
More quotes…