BABY by Annaleese Jochems


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Two women impulsively leave their normal lives behind to live on a boat and off the grid in this psychosexual thriller.

Cynthia is an extremely bored recent college graduate looking for something to devote her life to other than her extremely exclusive yoga classes, taught by the lovely Anahera. Anahera’s marriage is on the rocks, and when she shows up on Cynthia’s doorstep, ready to leave it all behind, Cynthia enthusiastically follows. The two take all of Cynthia’s (father’s) money and her dog and buy a boat named Baby, a new home for a new life. Cynthia is enamored with Anahera while Anahera remains slightly standoffish though warm. When an accident on a not-so-uninhabited island changes the dynamic of the two, however, all of a sudden Cynthia has no idea where she stands in this new life. Jochems’ debut is witty and unique. In Cynthia, she has created a wholly original character who is hard to pin down even when the reader is inside her head. Anahera, meanwhile, is almost completely unfathomable, her actions never making much sense even after secrets are revealed later in the book. Jochems’ prose is simple and intricately chosen, but sometimes the plot struggles to live up to the writing. The first two-fifths of the book are slow in comparison to the rest and written in a completely different tone. While the beginning is a strange coming-of-age for a young, privileged girl, by the end it is a psychosexual cat-and-mouse game between Cynthia and a character not introduced until halfway through the book. Jochems can definitely write, and her future work will surely be a treat. This book, however, is as uncertain as its protagonist about what it wants.

A promising new voice but an uneven page-turner.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-947534-95-7
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Scribe
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2019