September 22, 2014

Evidence of Things Not Seen - Lindsey Lane (+ Author Guest Post)

Evidence of Things Not Seen Lindsey Lane book cover
Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane
Publisher: Farrar, Strous & Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || ARC
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

If I'm being really honest, I still don't know precisely how to talk about Evidence of Things Not Seen. It's not that the concepts in it went over my head, though I was certainly puzzled and challenged by the thoughts of quantum physics and alternate realities. It's not that there are multiple points of view either, especially since most of them were interesting. Really, it's more because Evidence of Things Not Seen is the kind of book that needs to be allowed to simmer - and only time will tell how long it takes before you have your final, final, final impression.

Tommy Smythe and his disappearance is the central plot point that ties all the chapters (which are told from various perspectives) together. It's interesting because readers will feel like they know Tommy, but really, what we know is whatever everyone else knows about Tommy and what we can figure out about him from his piecemeal journal entries. 

Each character perspective is so totally different - some who know Tommy personally, some who know him after he's gone. It was kind of strange, yet intriguing, and it really made my brain work to put it all together. It does capture something I really do like pondering: the tenous, minute things that might connect all of us together.

Honestly, this might seem like a story about Tommy Smythe. And it is about Tommy, but it is, more to the point, about all of the people who are connected to him one way or another. Their stories range from mundane to sweet to horrifying, but it made for a pretty fascinating book.

Evidence of Things Not Seen was pretty surprising, because it really got me thinking about all these concepts that Tommy brought up (and made other people think about). While I'm not particularly keen on every single perspective included, and I did feel a little confused now and then, I can definitely say that I did like Evidence of Things Not Seen.


I'm pleased to welcome author Lindsey Lane onto the blog to share a few thoughts about Evidence of Things Not Seen and being a debut author. Take it away, Lindsey!

Lindsey Lane author photo
Lindsey Lane
True story: The first time I did a story time in front of little ones with my picture book SNUGGLE MOUNTAIN, I was gob smacked by the kids, especially the one little boy who sighed and said, “That was the best book I ever read.” Omigosh, I thought, this interaction is part of my job? I get to read and talk and have a bunch of fun with kids?! I felt like I had hit the jackpot.

Being a debut YA author is a step into the unknown. I have no idea if the gatekeepers (librarians and teachers) will like this book or want to pass it on to their teen readers. I hope so. Certainly, I feel very grateful to the librarian at the Horace Mann School who reviewed my book for School Library Journal and not only gave me a good review, she also put my book on the shelf with similar books so that if a librarian or teacher had a reader who liked Holly Goldberg Sloan’s I’LL BE THERE and Todd Strasser’s GIVE A BOY A GUN, then my book would fit their interest. I like that. It gave my book a context that I wasn’t thinking of when I wrote it.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t thinking of the gatekeepers at all when I was writing EVIDENCE. I was thinking of teens. I was seeing them handing off my book in the halls and saying, “Read the Hypothesis chapter. I so get Izzy. And I love Alex.” I was seeing teens talk about Alvin and Jake and Marshall like they were real. I thought a few might discuss the particle physics ideas that turned Tommy on as they wondered where he might be. Some might even talk about Karla and make the connection that a violent act is not an isolated event. 

I wrote EVIDENCE to light teens’ brains on fire. I didn’t write it to tie life up in a big bow. Teens maybe obnoxiously self-involved at times but they also have a burgeoning awareness of life’s deceptions and mysteries and grey areas. I wrote EVIDENCE because, despite the fact that we have tested the crap out of this generation, they are smart enough to see that life isn’t about getting the right answers. It’s as much about the question and the search for the answer. I wrote it for teens because I have complete faith that they will see past the edginess of the book and they will appreciate that I tackled tough subjects honestly and that the characters are truthful even when they are lying to themselves. 

If one teen writes me and says, “I freaking loved this book,” I will have hit the jackpot.


Thanks for the guest post, Lindsey! You certainly made me think about a lot of things when I read Evidence of Things Not Seen, and I'm sure there are more people who will feel the same way. You can find more of Lindsey here: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops:
September 16, 2014Good Books and Good Wine
September 17, 2014Gone With the Words
September 18, 2014Katie’s Book Blog
September 19, 2014Rather Be Reading 
September 22, 2014Alexa Loves Books
September 23, 2014The Book Cellar
September 24, 2014Such a Novel Idea
September 25, 2014Pop Goes the Reader
September 26, 2014Tales of a Ravenous Reader


  1. I'm quite intrigued by this book. I like that you sort of learn about a character through other's ideas of who that character is, rather than the character himself. It's like what happens anytime there's a death in the media. You hear some friends, acquaintances, family members on TV all sharing their thoughts on who that person was. And in private other people share their theories about that person. And they can clash and can be confusing and make you totally think the wrong thing about a person. It's just strange how the same person can be so different to so many. So yeah, interesting idea for a story!

  2. Alexa, Thank you for this thoughtful and honest review as well as hosting me on my blog tour. You honor me with the time and attention. I really appreciated it.


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