Nothing to See Here
Nothing to See Here is about female friendship and human connection. Narrator Lillian, determined to propel herself from poverty, earns a scholarship to an elite boarding school where she meets her roommate Madison. When drugs are found in their room, Madison’s father pays off Lillian’s mother in exchange for Lillian taking the blame. Lillian is expelled, destining her to a life of living paycheck-to-paycheck in her mother’s attic.
Several years later, Madison calls Lillian desperately needing help. Lillian is hired as a nanny to Madison’s twin stepchildren, who inexplicably burst into flames when provoked. As Madison’s husband is embattled in ongoing political campaigns, discretion regarding the children’s condition is essential.
How can I convey the hilarity, the beauty, and the quirkiness in this lovely little novel? The flaming children bring new life to burnout Lillian, who forges connections with the kids by treating them like humans, not freaks. That Kevin Wilson, a male writer hailing from Sewanee, Tennessee, can perfectly depict female “frenemy-ship,” to the magnitude of which the reader can feel the undercurrent of distrust, adoration and adrenaline between Lillian and Madison, is a true testament to his ability. Nothing to See Here is a page-turning, enchanting, and delightfully weird story you won’t regret picking up.
– Marilu Morgan
Between this thriller and Megan Goldin’s
superb Escape Room, 2019 has not been a good year for elevator rides. Mr. Barclay combines characters from the worlds of journalism, politics, law enforcement and alt-right extremism to masterful effect, and the climax is near heart attack inducing.
– Chris Manson
Blue Moon: A Jack Reacher Novel
In which our hero’s good deed on behalf of an elderly mugging victim escalates into all-our war with Albanian and Ukrainian crime gangs. Better than average entry in the series, and longtime fans will be rewarded with a high body count. The audio version, narrated by Scott Brick, is recommended to readers who like a little carnage with their commute.
– Chris Manson
BIOGRAPHIES & MEMOIRS
Edmund Morris, most famous for his biographical trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt, died in May of this year, so Edison is likely his final work. The book is written chronologically in reverse, starting with Thomas Edison’s death in 1931 and retreating decade-by-decade to his childhood. At first, it’s confusing—Morris doesn’t always frame events with dates—but once acclimated, I saw what the author was doing.
Edison’s mind combined the versatility of Da Vinci, the intuition of Einstein, and the pragmatism of Napoleon. What better way to understand it than by peeling off the layers in search of the core? I knew very little about Edison, and was amazed to learn that the man who invented the light bulb and phonograph spent most of his life almost completely deaf.
– Bruce Collier
Henry Holt and Co.
Elton John’s autobiography follows right behind Rocketman, the film based on his life. Sixty years after starting out as a musician in a suburb of London, John went from a difficult childhood to playing his first concert in America at age 23. Currently, he’s on his farewell tour. One of the top-selling solo artists of all time, Elton John beat his addiction to drugs food, and alcohol and raised millions of dollars in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. The book tells the life story of a truly gifted musician and performer.
– Samantha Lambert
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know
Little, Brown and Company
The latest from the author of Outliers and David and Goliath is essentially about how and why human beings misunderstand one another. Gladwell analyzes case studies of human interactions gone wrong, both in history and in current news. With a social science perspective, he revisits the cases of Amanda Knox, Jerry Sandusky, Sandra Bland and Bernie Madoff, among others, to reveal what we may have misunderstood back when these folks were making headline news.
This book is a quick and fascinating read, an experience much akin to listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast Revisionist History. In fact, the audiobook version is produced to sound just like a podcast, with interviewees speaking their own parts and Gladwell narrating in his signature style.
– Marilu Morgan
Brady Smith with Tiffani Thiessen
You’re Missing It!
Nancy Paulsen Books
You’re Missing It! is a beautiful picture book depicting two children’s adventure in the city park. From the kids’ perspective, excitement abounds all around them—birds singing, squirrels racing, even a pack of dogs chasing a jogger! But the children’s parents are missing out because they can’t take their eyes off of their phones.
Kids will love the vibrant illustrations. And the story is a good reminder for parents to put the phone down and delight in the small wonders of our world, as children eagerly do.
– Marilu Morgan