OF THINGS NOT SEEN
Genre: YA / Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Date of Publication: December 16, 2015
Number of Pages: 240
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Tommy Smythe is missing.
Fact: Tommy was good at physics and less good at basic human interactions.
Fact: Tommy recorded his thoughts and observations in a notebook.
Fact: Tommy believed in the existence of parallel universes.
Fact: Tommy was adopted. The facts are simple. The conclusions to be drawn from the facts are not simple. Did he run away to find his birth parents? Did he slip through a wormhole and enter one of the multiple universes he believed in? Did he simply wander off? Only one thing is certain: until a possibility is proven true, all possibilities exist. Told through multiple perspectives, here is a story about how residents of a small town seek answers to the mystery of a teen’s disappearance.
* * *PRAISE FOR EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN:
“In her first novel for teens, Lane offers a gripping and genre bending mosaic.” - Publishers Weekly
“Complex and Rich” - Horn Book
"This is the kind of book you tuck in with and escape into, and it will stay with you long after you finish the last lines. Haunting and beautiful.” - Jennifer Mathieu, author of The Truth About Alice, Devoted, and Afterward
“The narrative jiggers between unexpected opposites—joy and fear, love and violence, grief and hope—all the while holding forth the constant idea that the world offers us credible evidence of what seems impossible if we only know where to look.” J.L. Powers, author of Amina, This Thing Called The Future, and the forthcoming Broken Circle
"Ever look at a pearl and notice that its one color is, in fact, many colors? That’s the beauty of EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, the stunning debut novel by Lindsey Lane.” - Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Adios Nirvana, Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways To Fly
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Author’s note: When I began writing EVIDENCE (which was called Particles at that time), I started with the chapter entitled Comic Book. It was first scene in the book that came to me in a dream. But as Tommy’s disappearance took on more weight in the story, I needed to find a classmate of Tommy’s who could introduce the world and the problem. Kimmie Jo was perfect because she chatters to the Sheriff and spills a lot of details about Tommy and the school in her nervous patter. (Note: The author trimmed this chapter in half for purposes of this blog tour.)
Really? I might be the last person who saw Tommy Smythe?
I didn’t hardly even see him, Sheriff. It was Friday afternoon. I was heading back to Fred. You know, Fred Johnson High, because of the Cinco de Mayo dress rehearsal. I had to—um, I had to go home right after school because, well, it was that time of the month and I had to change—anyway, I was driving back to Fred and I saw Tommy coming toward me on that red motorbike of his. Ruby. I heard he calls it Ruby. Isn’t that the weirdest? I mean, I named my dolls but that was like in kindergarten. Is that something boys do in high school—name their vehicles?
No, he didn’t look any different, Sheriff. He was wearing his lab goggles, so he looked like this nerd scientist on a scooter. But that was how he always looked. Tall, skinny, kind of goofy looking. He would have been cute if he tried a little. He only had acne on his forehead but that’s because his hair always hung in front of his face. If you want good skin, you have to take care of it. You know, wash your face and drink a lot of water. For being such a science nerd, you think he’d understand that stuff.
I’m sorry, Sheriff. Tommy was driving away from school. I was going toward school. It was a little ways down the road from here. I hadn’t passed the entrance to the Stillwell Ranch yet. I’d just gone by this place. You know, the pull-out. I really wish people would call it something else. Like the dirt patch. That’s all it is. Do you know that guys at Fred joke about girls putting out at the pull-out and not pulling out at the pull-out? So gross.
Oh, yeah, Tommy. He was coming toward me on his motorbike. It was ten to four. I know because I looked at my watch and knew I’d probably be fifteen minutes late to the dress rehearsal even though I was already speeding. Oops, I probably shouldn’t say that to you.
Did I wave to Tommy? No way. I mean, we’re both juniors but we’re really different. Like on two different planets. No, we’re farther apart than that. He’s like a gas molecule and I’m like a tree. Well, I don’t know what we are. I am so not a science nerd. We’re different. You don’t hang out with people who are different than you.
I’m really sorry, Sheriff Caldwell. I talk a lot when I’m nervous and I guess talking to you and being the last person to see Tommy makes me nervous.
Unhappy? Tommy? I don’t think so. Why would he be unhappy about being in the science nerd group if that’s who he was? He seemed like a regular nerd. Always reading. Or writing in that notebook. Probably about his scientific discoveries. Isn’t that how nerds act? All kind of preoccupied with things they’re thinking about?
I don’t know if Tommy had a girlfriend. I doubt it. I saw Rachel—she was a science geek—get on the back of his bike once or twice. She wasn’t with him on Friday though. It didn’t look like a girlfriend thing. I mean, he didn’t smile at her or have his arm around her. But I don’t know. Maybe nerd boyfriends act like that.
Tommy was definitely weird. Not in a creepy way. In a really awkward way. Like he was tuned into another frequency. I mean, I’ve been in school with him since middle grade and he was always the weird nerdy kid. But not like an outcast. Just awkward, really awkward. Like one time I was ahead of him in the lunch line and I dropped my spork. It landed right near his foot and all he did was stare at it like it fell from some other planet. I finally picked it up and all he said was, “I wonder if that fell through a wormhole.”
I probably shouldn’t refer to him in the past tense. I mean, he’s only been missing for three days. Do you think Tommy could be dead? Wouldn’t that be creepy awful if I was the last person to see Tommy alive? Like maybe if I’d waved or stopped or talked to him, you wouldn’t be interviewing me about Tommy. Like something might have changed if we’d done one thing different before. You know?
Lindsey Lane is the author of the young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen (Farrar Straus Giroux) and the award-winning picture book and iTunes app Snuggle Mountain (Clarion/PicPocket Books). She is represented by Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Before she received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010, Lindsey was a features journalist (Austin Chronicle and Austin American Statesman) and an award-winning playwright (The Miracle of Washing Dishes). Lindsey is a featured presenter at schools and conferences and universities and also teaches writing at Austin Community College, Writers League of Texas, and the Writing Barn. She lives in Austin, Texas but loves to travel, especially to the ocean. She loves books, films, good food and her cadre of dear friends. Her idea of a perfect evening is having a dinner party at her home with friends from around the world and discussing everything under the sun while eating, drinking, and laughing.
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