Evidence of Things Not Seen: YA Discussion Questions

Posted in * Grades 10-12, KidLit Tool: Discussion Questions, Theme: Anti-Bullying, Theme: At-Risk Youth, Theme: Book Clubs

9780374300609_p0_v1_s260x420Reader Engagement Project:

The young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen by award-winning author Lindsey Lane (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.

When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pullout off the highway, so maybe someone snatched him. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it may be 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,

“…a gripping and genre-bending mosaic” —Publisher Weekly

“…perfect for sparking conversation.” —Horn Book


Honoring the book’s sharp, intimate voice, these discussion questions both hold the characters accountable and make sure they get the respect they deserve. For those curious about what happens to the characters or for readers who see something of themselves or their friends in the characters, there are Resources to explore the characters’ issues in the real world.

Creator of the Discussion Questions
The questions were written by Carrie Gordon Watson, a 29-year veteran high school teacher, conflict resolution counselor ,and co-founder of the at-risk youth art engagement program, Never Counted Out. She holds an MA in Foreign and Second Language Education, and she has created and implemented conflict resolution programs at the high school where she’s taught since 1996 and adopted and coordinated the social awareness program called Challenge Day. A Young Adult author as well, Watson’s first book QUAD dealt with the painful and gripping reality of a school shooting. Her 2016 novel Ascending the Boneyard tackles subjects of grief, family, and finding oneself.

Engagement / Programming Tool:

View, Download & Print Discussion Questions

Explore other Tools on the Author’s Website


Best Users:

Public Children’s Librarians, School Librarians, Community Groups, Grades 7-12

Best Audience:

Children Grades 7-12

More on the Book:

Evidence of Things Not Seen
By Lindsey Lane
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Age range: 12 – 18 Years
Hardcover, 9780374300609

“The real story is not Tommy’s to tell, it is in the lives of all the people left behind.” —VOYA

“Thought-provoking.” —Kirkus Reviews

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