Next book


A moving evocation of life on the fringes, sparking many questions about our regulated society.

Does Father know best? His teenage daughter is forced to wonder after they’re evicted from their city-park cave in this harrowing fifth novel from Rock (Writing/Reed Coll.; The Bewildered, 2005, etc.).

Caroline and Father had lived in the spacious park in Portland, Ore., for four years, Caroline tells us via her journal. After Caroline’s mother’s death, Father and Caroline were temporarily separated, but when Caroline was nine Father removed her secretly from her foster parents in Idaho. They have made a stable home for themselves in a Portland park. Father is scrupulous about housekeeping. He supervises her education; dictionaries and encyclopedias do the rest. Caroline has taught herself about the forest. She knows where the morels are. She can climb trees and smell animals. Though Father is strict, he allows her to roam. (He’s a vet, a recovering alcoholic and a Thoreauvian idealist; we don’t know more than that.) The 13-year-old will look back on these as happy years; no friends, true, but she has her talisman Randy, a plastic horse. For his little autodidact, Rock has found just the right voice: forthright, with a singular purity. As a result, we care enormously about her fate. Everything changes for the pair when a jogger discovers their hideaway. Armed cops break it up. Father and Caroline are put in the custody of separate social workers. Once they find no evidence of abuse, they settle the pair on a horse farm; Father is to do chores, while Caroline will go to a regular school. No, decides Father. “Regular won’t fit you.” They steal away, back to Portland, living on the streets despite the newly assertive Caroline’s protests. Father makes dumb mistakes and becomes increasingly paranoid, though his devotion to Caroline is constant. Away from the city again, in the mountains, Father will make his dumbest mistake, leading to catastrophe. Caroline’s intuition, keener than his own, might have saved them.

A moving evocation of life on the fringes, sparking many questions about our regulated society.

Pub Date: March 12, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-15-101414-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2009

Next book


Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.

Hannah’s new novel is an homage to the extraordinary courage and endurance of Frenchwomen during World War II.

In 1995, an elderly unnamed widow is moving into an Oregon nursing home on the urging of her controlling son, Julien, a surgeon. This trajectory is interrupted when she receives an invitation to return to France to attend a ceremony honoring passeurs: people who aided the escape of others during the war. Cut to spring, 1940: Viann has said goodbye to husband Antoine, who's off to hold the Maginot line against invading Germans. She returns to tending her small farm, Le Jardin, in the Loire Valley, teaching at the local school and coping with daughter Sophie’s adolescent rebellion. Soon, that world is upended: The Germans march into Paris and refugees flee south, overrunning Viann’s land. Her long-estranged younger sister, Isabelle, who has been kicked out of multiple convent schools, is sent to Le Jardin by Julien, their father in Paris, a drunken, decidedly unpaternal Great War veteran. As the depredations increase in the occupied zone—food rationing, systematic looting, and the billeting of a German officer, Capt. Beck, at Le Jardin—Isabelle’s outspokenness is a liability. She joins the Resistance, volunteering for dangerous duty: shepherding downed Allied airmen across the Pyrenees to Spain. Code-named the Nightingale, Isabelle will rescue many before she's captured. Meanwhile, Viann’s journey from passive to active resistance is less dramatic but no less wrenching. Hannah vividly demonstrates how the Nazis, through starvation, intimidation and barbarity both casual and calculated, demoralized the French, engineering a community collapse that enabled the deportations and deaths of more than 70,000 Jews. Hannah’s proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale.

Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-312-57722-3

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Next book


Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Close Quickview