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Literature / Evidence of Things Not Seen

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Evidence of Things Not Seen is a 2014 novel by Lindsey Lane. It follows the aftermath of the disappearance of Tommy Smythe, a high school junior in a small Texas community who goes missing on the evening of May 4. Each chapter is narrated by a different character, some in the first person and some in the third person, mixed in with entries from Tommy's journal. Tommy was a physics nerd who believed that everything is possible, and was constantly wandering off, trying to satisfy his curiosity. Was he abducted? Did he wander off and get killed? Or did he find a way into another dimension?

Evidence of Things Not Seen contains examples of:

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  • Broken Pedestal: Tara Simmons grew up on her father's lavender farm. While her father used to do drugs and run with a rough crowd, she thought he gave up all that when he married her mom and moved to the country. In fact, he was dealing drugs and having affairs during his "business trips." Tara and her mom never learned the truth until Karla killed him.
  • Character Tics: At the end of class, when the teacher was droning on about due dates and the final, Tommy used to tap his pencil and jerk his legs to try to make time pass faster.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Tara sleeps curled around the bag of her father's cremated ashes.
  • Creepy Uncle: Leann Jordan was sexually abused by her uncle, and later her cousin. Both told her it was okay because they loved her. When her mother found out, she called her a tease and sent her to live with her aunt.
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  • Dispense with the Pleasantries: When Sheriff Caldwell acts excessively formal towards Hallie Stillwell, the owner of the highway pull-out where Tommy's motorbike was found, she says, "For crying out loud, Eugene Caldwell, I have known you since you were a spit of a thing. Don't give me any of that 'Ms. Stillwell, I need to ask you a few questions' baloney. If you get all official on me, I'll official you right off my property."
  • Drives Like Crazy: Tommy used to drive his motorbike at high speeds, then abruptly stop so he could look at things.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: When Tara's mom learns that her husband was a drug dealer murdered by a seventeen-year-old prostitute he'd had an affair with, she goes straight to her room with a bottle of wine and drinks until she passes out.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Discussed. When Mary Louise calls Tommy cute, Leann uses the term "adorkable".
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  • Frying Pan of Doom: Dwight's mom uses one to try to defend herself against her abusive husband, but it only briefly stuns him.
  • Gene Hunting: Tommy was adopted, and one theory for his disappearance is that he went looking for his biological parents.
  • Learnt English from Watching Television: Chuy learned most of his English from comic books.
  • Literal-Minded: When Rachel asked what Tommy was doing, he would often answer "Talking to you." She would have to ask more specific questions, like "Where are you going?" or "What are you going to do?"
  • Lives in a Van: Karla used to live in a car with her prostitute mother.
  • Make an Example of Them: Alvin Clark's dad, who owns the salvage yard, shoots tools that don't work properly. He tells the other tools, "This is what happens to lousy tools."
  • Make-Out Point: The pull-out is a popular spot for horny teenagers, as well as the subject of a lot of terrible jokes about girls putting out or boys pulling out.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's never explained exactly what happened to Tommy. His goggles are found months after his disappearance, and months after that he's sighted in a field but immediately vanishes, both of which would seem to point towards the alternate dimension explanation.
  • Missing Mom: Alvin's mother disappeared when he was ten. His father never reported it.
  • Never Given a Name: Maricela thinks this is the case for Juany's young son, since she never calls him anything but Niño.
  • Police Brutality Gambit: When a cop tries to arrest Alvin, he smashes own his head into the car door, hoping his threat of a police brutality complaint will get the cop to leave him alone.
  • Security Blanket: Tommy is so attached to his notebook that James Houghton compares it to his blankie.
  • Taking the Kids: Dwight and his mom finally leave his dad after he violently beats them one too many times.
  • Their First Time: Izzy decides to have sex with her friend Alex so that her virginity won't be a factor in future sex-related decisions. Unfortunately, she assumes that A Man Is Always Eager and doesn't check in with him first, resulting in what amounts to accidental sexual assault.
  • This Is Reality: Physics teacher Mr. McCloud doesn't believe the speculation that Tommy crossed over into another dimension, because "we are not living in the panels of Marvel comics."
  • Waxing Lyrical: Frank asks Stella if she would like to swing on a star and carry moonbeams home in a jar.

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