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#BooksThatWon’tBumYouOut: Nothing to See Here

5 things I liked about Nothing to See Here and why you should put it on your #toread list—and why writers should take note:

1. Genuinely funny. Too often, when something that’s more “literary” fiction is described as funny, what people really mean is bitter, or snarky. There are tones of that here, sure, but it’s also got the kind of humor that comes of a sense of possibility.
2. The protagonist’s voice and attitude. This isn’t someone who knows everything. She’s wrong about people, or makes a joke that doesn’t land, and then we hear her take note—check, oops, got that wrong. And by the end of the book she knows herself better.
3. Every character was rock solid (and there were very few of them). Even the minor characters evolved in ways that were absolutely, totally in keeping with everything we knew about them. Writers take notes: Kevin Wilson’s secondary and tertiary character development is stellar. It’s so clean, without any words that aren’t necessary to the story as a whole, and yet it’s there.
4. The magical realism. There’s just the one wild card here: kids who catch on fire when they’re angry. And not only does it fit into the very real larger world perfectly, it’s absolutely critical to the story in both literal and metaphorical ways.
5. All the hope. There are some damaged people in here—but they manage to haul out their problems, shine some light on them, do some dealing and then get on some new roads. That’s really all I ask for in a book: Spank the really rotten people, let the decent ones grown, and land an ending that’s satisfying. #loveitwhenpeopletakecharge #determinedwomenrule #booksshouldbefun


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