An upscale telenovela with well-drawn, charmingly flawed characters from an author who explodes some myths (while cementing...


A journalist employs the conceit of female friendship in a predictable but affecting debut that takes a long, hard, and funny look at life in the US for Latina women.

Here come the sucias (translation: dirty girls)! Six irreverent, successful, determined, in-your-face chicas who joined forces in college and continue to get together twice a year in Boston to compare notes on life and love. It’s their tenth anniversary, and they run the gamut from magazine founder and editor to not-so-happy Miami housewife and mother of two; from bulimic to large and loving it. The sucias are loyal friends, but they all have secrets—a laundry list of universal female issues with an ethnic twist that they’ll reveal to the reader and slowly to each other. They’re all different in background, style, attitude, color, sexual proclivity, ambition, and fluency in Spanish. They take turns speaking, in rotating chapters, and we follow them through their relationships with each other (they aren’t all equally friendly), their relationships with men (married, cheating, abusive, unsavory), their upbringings (prim Catholic New Mexico pilgrim, Cuban gentry, dirt-poor in Columbia), their careers (TV anchor, newspaper reporter, rock singer), and their reactions to stereotyping. “If Hollywood pretends we all look like Penelope Cruz and J.Lo, the Latin media pretends we are all like a Swedish exchange student or Pamela Anderson,” says Lauren Fernandez, the Boston Gazette’s first and only Hispanic columnist, hired by her white-shoe Harvard-educated boss, Chuck Spring,“ to connect to the Latina people or whatever.”

An upscale telenovela with well-drawn, charmingly flawed characters from an author who explodes some myths (while cementing others). The aforementioned J.Lo is reportedly involved in development talks. Surprised?

Pub Date: May 13, 2003

ISBN: 0-312-31381-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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