A well-composed story about love and lust in all their myriad variations and about a boy finding his place in a mixed-up,...

ADAM

An emotionally mature, socially tongue-tied and sexually anxious teenage boy abandons the comforts of suburbia for a walk on the wild side in LGBT New York.

Best known for mining her own adolescence in her trilogy of graphic memoirs, here Schrag (Potential, 2008, etc.) paints a lush picture of the queer scene in Brooklyn circa 2006 through the eyes of an unusually straight-laced protagonist. Her muse is the lesbian side of New York’s gay subculture, but choosing a shy, awkward teen boy as the portal into the underground was a bold choice. After being ditched for a girl by his best friend, Adam Freedman opts to stay with his closeted gay sister, Casey, in a dingy apartment for the summer, along with her butch roommate, June, and their Craigslist-acquired flatmate, Ethan. Floating along in Casey’s wake, Adam learns to navigate the weird wonderland of New York and gets to see a side of the city most boys who like girls don’t get to experience, along with the high drama of any tightly woven, politically active and sexually volatile scene. At one of many parties, Adam meets one of those girls who stop your heart, a redheaded goddess named Gillian who immediately takes a shine to him. This being a romantic comedy set in a supposedly post-gender metropolis, naturally the meet-cute couple experiences a few bumps in the road, namely that Gillian identifies as a lesbian and believes Adam is a trans boy, with lady parts instead of his constantly raging erection. Sensitive readers should know there are some raunchy bits here and there, with many variations of boot-knocking and a bawdy visit to an underground sex club. It all sounds very progressive, but the talented Schrag’s gifts for characterization and dialogue make the whole enterprise sweetly entertaining.

A well-composed story about love and lust in all their myriad variations and about a boy finding his place in a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.

Pub Date: June 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-14293-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

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ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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