Often pedestrian, sometimes engrossing, much like Facebook itself.

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WITH JUST ONE CLICK...

Strong uses the brave new world of social networking to explore the timeless themes of love, betrayal, jealousy and friendship.

Chloe is a successful Manhattan professional in her early 30s. By day, she works her dream job as a film critic for a major entertainment magazine; by night, she hangs out with a glamorous gossip-columnist roommate and supportive fashion-designer best friend. Her social and professional lives are in order, but her romantic life is a consistent disappointment—until a hesitant foray into Facebook leads to an unexpected reunion. A few states away, Morgan has settled into a stable if mundane routine. She takes care of her two young children, keeps house and fills her downtime with Facebook. It’s an activity that allows her to express herself outside the confines of her home, but also allows her to obsessively follow her husband’s Facebook activities—specifically his interactions with a certain ex-girlfriend. It is unfortunate that Morgan’s ability to keep tabs on her husband far outweighs her ability to say anything particularly noteworthy on the public site. Strong dutifully records Morgan’s day-to-day postings, but it’s unclear whether she’s making a comment on modern oversharing or simply filling her novel with the type of minutiae that already clogs the Internet. Brynn is also a dedicated wife and mother, but at 40, with her two children well into their teens and her husband consumed by work, she feels increasingly isolated. Once again, Facebook becomes a source of both tension and relief. Brynn escapes her dissatisfaction by writing to a high school boyfriend, but when the relationship goes beyond the virtual, Brynn is caught between following her desires and protecting her family. What do these women have in common? A lot more than we think, as it turns out, but most importantly, they all use Facebook to express their most significant emotions. One character even proposes marriage through a “status update.” But Strong doesn’t sufficiently examine the total lack of separation between virtual and actual communication in her characters’ lives. The reader may wish that these women would get off the computer and talk to one another.

Often pedestrian, sometimes engrossing, much like Facebook itself.

Pub Date: March 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-1257092406

Page Count: 339

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2011

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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