“Nothing to See Here” Book Review

Alexia Partouche, Editor-in-Chief

At first glance, Nothing To See Here plays into its title. Barely stretching over 203 pages, the book tells the story of perfectly mediocre — if not below average — Lillian Beaker, whose dreary, burnt-out adult life is interrupted when a highly successful and rich friend from her childhood, Madison, asks her for a peculiar favor.

Readers follow Lillian into a world of luxury, where her task is laid bare: over the summer, she’ll be the governess for Madison’s two step-children, who happen to spontaneously combust when they get angry or upset. Armed with no childcare skills and a fraught experience with her own childhood, Lillian enters the fray, desperate to prove herself to her old friend and indulge in the wealth that is so unfamiliar to her.

Somehow, it’s not their ability for lighting on fire that is most enticing about the twin children under Lillian’s care. Instead, it’s what they manage to draw out of her that makes the book phenomenal. With them, Lillian is witty, interesting, grown-up — her life, which once seemed to be going nowhere, now teeters on the brink of redemption as she gains respect for how she handles the children. Her time with them feels dreamlike, the surreal factor of their fiery abilities combining with the even more unlikely manner in which they make her feel at home. But as the summer comes to a close and the dynamics within Madison’s family become increasingly agitated, Lillian will be forced to reckon with not only her future, but that of the children she’s grown so attached to.

In this heartwarming, eccentric, and entertaining story about acceptance, Kevin Wilson draws readers in with his humorous, unconventional protagonist, but it’s the bonds he has her create that will keep you around.