A charming fable with an important message for young readers.

JUST THE WAY YOU ARE

A princess’ search for true love sends her on a voyage of self-discovery in Lewis’ debut YA fantasy.

Misty Miles, the 20-year-old princess of Starryton and the beloved daughter of King Reginald and Queen Eliza, worries that her subjects may discover her secret: ever since childhood, she’s been in a wheelchair due to a disability that has left her unable to walk and makes it difficult to use her hands. Her parents have kept her hidden from public view in the castle, but she yearns to go out and explore her kingdom. She also wants to meet Prince Derrick of the neighboring kingdom of Mooncrest. On the eve of her 21st birthday, she leaves the castle, accompanied by her service dog, Dex, to seek out a troll named Trovella, who grants her the temporary ability to walk and dance. The prince only has three days to fall in love with her, Trovella tells her. Misty and Derrick soon meet and sparks fly, but, despite her happiness, Misty knows the prince will soon learn the truth. Later, with the encouragement of Kara, a young, disabled orphan, Misty gets the opportunity to prove that she has the leadership skills that the kingdom needs. Lewis’ fantasy is an empowering tale of a young woman who discovers her inner strength while also finding unconditional love and support. Misty is an appealing heroine who doesn’t let her disability prevent her from seeing the world or finding love. Lewis, who has a disability herself, poignantly explores her protagonist’s determination to experience life outside the castle walls. She also offers a well-developed portrait of Misty’s day-to-day life, from the companionship of her service dog to the assistance that she needs to perform daily tasks, such as dressing or brushing her teeth. She also surrounds Misty with strong supporting characters: Derrick is a sensitive, compassionate romantic foil, and the character of Kara will raise readers’ awareness of the needs of orphans with disabilities.

A charming fable with an important message for young readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-55955-0

Page Count: 136

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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

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A LITTLE LIFE

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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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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