The heavy subject aside: a funny, breezy read.

BEHAVING LIKE ADULTS

Setting: London. Character: hip young woman. Conflict: boyfriend trouble. Sound familiar? Still, this latest Brit-chick-lit saga gets a serious spin from the popular Maxted.

Á la her previous outings (Running in Heels, 2001, etc.), blending a smart, chatty narrative with a weighty problem—a parent’s death one time, anorexia another—Maxted here tackles date rape. Holly, 29, has a house in London, a diabetic cat, and a new business (a dating service for young hipsters called Girl Meets Boy) that seems to be headed toward grand success. Of course, there’s one problem: ex-fiancé Nick won’t move out. Having split because Nick just won’t grow up (he’s charming, kind, and funny and works as Mr. Elephant at children’s birthday parties), Holly is hoping he’ll get the hint when she goes on a date with Stuart, a Girl Meets Boy client. But things go terribly wrong and Stuart rapes Holly on her kitchen floor just as Nick arrives home. But was it rape? Holly, traumatized, decides it didn’t seem like rape (no gun or dark alley, and, for heaven’s sake, Stuart drives a Mercedes), and so it must have been bad sex. Nick moves out, but Holly’s denial creates a host of problems: depression, anger, fear. So Holly walks around her own house with a kitchen knife and gets a panic attack at the thought of grocery shopping. Her friends—outlandish aristocrat Rachel (who, Holly suspects, is having an affair with her sister’s husband), theatrical Nige (who works for Holly while awaiting stardom), baby sister Claudia—can’t understand why Holly is letting her business (and friendships and whole worldview) fall apart. When Holly finally blows the whistle on Stuart, she begins to heal, but not before Stuart sues for defamation of character and Nick (who was still stuck on Holly) breaks it off for good. Never fear: a happy ending is in sight, but Maxted makes her characters work for it.

The heavy subject aside: a funny, breezy read.

Pub Date: May 13, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-009667-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

BAREFOOT

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more