Brittle romance laced with bitchy asides.


Young things in London, in Potter’s first US publication.

Juliet is bright, pretty, and disenchanted with boyfriend Will. He’s kept her waiting for eons at this bar, and she’s extremely unhappy about it. And no one ever told her that adult life would entail one second of unhappiness. Perhaps a whiny gabfest with chum Trudy will soothe her soul. Or she can text-message everyone she knows to help her through this latest crisis. Dressing up in sexy red silk embroidered with tiny flowers (don’t ask the price, darling) and attracting the attention of every bloke in the bar is small consolation for being stood up. She loathes bars. Bars serve martinis, and martinis contain olives, and even though she isn’t having a martini with or without olives, she hates olives with a passion. Nasty bitter bloody things. And just because Will is terribly involved with his new landscaping business is no reason to neglect her romantic needs. Now, he’s apparently forgotten that it’s Valentine’s Day, and she will never, ever forgive him. Not even after she gets sloppy drunk with Trudy and meets a handsome stranger in the public loo—well, she had to pee and headed into the Gents, all right? The stranger was kind enough to pass her the toilet paper, and she was not too drunk to notice that his accent was extremely posh, as in Royal Family posh! Oo! Though, as it turns out, he answers to the distinctly plebian name of Sykes, he’s the creative director of a rival ad firm, drives a jazzy, spanking-new Aston Martin and—uh-oh, Will just woke up. So who’s the GQ-gorgeous bloke in the poncey clothes sniffing around his Juliet? Will goes back to gloomy Yorkshire to sulk and Juliet jets off to sunny Italy with Sykes. He’s sophisticated, fun, has heaps of money, and showers her with expensive gifts. Most of all, he’s paying attention to her. Alas, Juliet soon realizes she’s just another notch on his Gucci belt. Sadder but wiser, she returns to England for a half-baked happy ending.

Brittle romance laced with bitchy asides.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-7434-7032-X

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Downtown Press/Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2003

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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