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.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review but this does not affect the contents of my review nor my feelings towards the book.
To say that Evidence of Things Not Seen is unlike anything I’ve ever read is not an exaggeration. However, it doesn’t mean that I enjoyed it immensely. Evidence of Things Not Seen is about a 17 year old boy, Tommy, who goes missing. All we know about Tommy is that he was obsessed with particle physics and parallel dimension and he is always writing and carrying around his notebooks. The story is told through 1st person point of view, secondary characters speaking to the town sheriff and 3rd person POV, characters out of town that you find have relevance to the story later. Each chapter features a new character and a new point of view.
While this was interesting, and certainly refreshing compared to other YA novels, I am a little confused. Evidence of Things Not Seen seems like the perfect mystery novel but instead, it turned out to be a disappointment. The different point of views and opinions on Tommy’s disappearance were interesting but I really didn’t see the point. I think Evidence of Things Not Seen was supposed to be inspirational and eye-lifting but I just did not get it.
While I may not have understood the point of Evidence of Things Not Seen, I still enjoyed the uniqueness and originality of each character and I liked how all the characters made up one mess of a town. Despite the uniqueness of each chapter, I was disappointed with the book overall and the ending was also fairly unsatisfying.
Overall, I recommend this book to people looking to read fresh and interesting contemporaries, and books with a large feeling of community and family.