Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux on September 16, 2014
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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 up and snatched him. Or maybe he slipped into a parallel universe. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it is possibly true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.
Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy and third-person chapters about people who find the things Tommy left behind—his red motorbike, his driving goggles, pages from his notebook—Particles explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.
Evidence of Things Not Seen might be one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read. It’s unlike anything else in the YA market and while it wasn’t my favorite, I truly enjoyed reading it.
The story focuses on the disappearance of Tommy Smythe. Tommy is a strange boy with a fascination for particle physics and alternate universes. One of the quirky things about the book is that you never actually meet Tommy. You get to read his journal entries but that is all you have of Tommy other than what other people have to say about him. Each chapter is told from a different point of view, some people who knew Tommy and some people who stumble upon items of his after his disappearance. While it took some getting used to, this style was awesome and probably my favorite aspect of the book.
Each chapter is almost like a short story. Each person has something to do with Tommy, whether they know it or not. It’s also a way to see how everyone is connected by just one person. All of the people were very different but they all tied together somehow. There were times when I wondered why I was reading about a certain person but later on in the book I’d see the bigger role they played. It was really fascinating and such a unique way to tell this story.
The mature content in Evidence of Things Not Seen really got to me. I don’t usually have a problem with this kind of stuff but in this case, there was a lot of it and some of it seemed unnecessary. There was rape, incest, child prostitution, abuse, and all kinds of other stuff. I just felt like there was an over abundance of mature content and at times it made me really uncomfortable.
The ending is not perfect, it’s not tied up with a bow, but it’s perfect for the story. It’s very open ended and it has definitely got me thinking. Also, I won’t tell you what it is but I adore the last line.
Overall, Evidence of Things Not Seen is a promising young adult debut from Lindsey Lane. I look forward to more unique stories from this author.
What others are saying about Evidence of Things Not Seen:
Shae Has Left The Room’s review: “I will say that it is definitely unlike most books I read.”
Bewitched Bookworms’ review: “The writing was crisp, sometimes stark, but beautiful at the same time.”
Read.Sleep.Repeat’s review: “Overall, I recommend this book to people looking to read fresh and interesting contemporaries, and books with a large feeling of community and family.”
About the author:
Award-winning author Lindsey Lane is proud to announce her debut YA novel EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN will be published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers on September 16, 2014. Her picture book SNUGGLE MOUNTAIN (Clarion, 2003) is now available as an iTunes app, which Digital Storytime describes as “heartwarming and adorable with rich illustrations and lyrical text.” In 2010, Lindsey received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Lindsey is a featured presenter at many schools where she gets kids (of all ages) excited about writing. When she is not writing, reading or being a mom, Lindsey loves sweating at Bikkram yoga, seeing movies and plays, and enjoying some of the outrageously good food at Austin restaurants with friends.
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Interview with Lindsey Lane!
First off, thanks for stopping by the blog. =)
Thank you so much for hosting me. It’s an honor.
Describe Evidence of Things Not Seen in 140 characters or less!
Without hashtags? Okay, here goes:
Tommy is missing. As the community searches, their lives are affected by the loss & the only clues they find are pages from Tommy’s notebook
What made you decide to write YA?
I’m not sure I decided to write YA. I think stories come to us and we have to figure out the best way to tell them. That said, one of the things that I am most proud of about EVIDENCE is that it is tough, gritty and honest and I think that young adults sometimes want a story that doesn’t have easy answers and big bows. Sometimes they want to look behind the wizard’s curtain and see the machinations of what makes life messy and magical.
Your character, Tommy, is a genius when it comes to physics. Do you have a physics background? If not, how did the idea come to you?
I do not have a background in physics but I have a fascination with the ideas in physics. So do a lot of other writers. Steven Moffatt (Dr. Who) Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass), to name two of many.
The first story I wrote about Tommy was called Particles and, in it, I hinted that Tommy might have disappeared by going into another dimension. When I expanded the story and wove it through the entire book, I had to entertain all the possibilities of how Tommy might have disappeared. As Tommy writes in his journal: All Possibilities exist. When I make an observation, all possibilities collapse into one. So is it our observation that limits possibility? What if there is absolutely no observer? Then anything is possible. Anything. I could be anywhere. I could be dead. I could be sleeping. I could be on Ruby going to class. I could even be in class because that’s one of the possibilities that exists as long as no one is observing me.
Do you have any must haves while writing?
A cup of strong black tea (Yorkshire Gold or Scottish Breakfast) with milk and a comfortable chair. Other than that, I love hearing my animals breathing nearby and, if the weather’s good, the windows open so I can hear the birds.
What has been your best experience being part of the YA community?
I have to say that the Kidlit/YA community has the most enthusiastic and generous people on the planet. As far as best experience, well, being on this blog tour is pretty great and when I reached out to blurbers, I was welcomed heartily into the fold. Because this is my debut, I am looking forward to many more great experiences.
What are you working on now? Anything else YA?
I am working on the next YA novel. The working title is Inside The Notes. The protagonist is a musician who is set on a path to meet the man who killed her mother fourteen years ago: her father.
I kind of want to read it now… And I love the description of her next book “Inside The Notes” 🙂 Thanks for this post! 🙂
Book Maniac Reviews
Kate!!! Thank you so much for your honest and thoughtful review. I really appreciate it.
Oh! This one sounds so good. I love the premise of her next book, too.