by Barbara Ebel ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 7, 2016
At its best as a drama, with a protagonist whose distressing professional and personal lives in and out of the hospital...
The patients in a medical student’s psychiatry rotation have a variety of diagnoses, some more dangerous than others, in this thriller.
Having completed one third-year medical school clinical rotation in surgery, Dr. Annabel Tilson will next be seeing patients in the psych ward. There are certainly more risks involved, as attending physician, Dr. Selina Keeton, quickly points out. The students, for one, should avoid the common practice of shaking the patient’s hand when entering the room. Annabel’s first patient is Victor Blake, a 23-year-old man cops picked up after he scared people at a movie theater, screaming about nonexistent snakes on the screen. Fortunately, not everyone is as intimidating as Victor, a paranoid schizophrenic. Annabel and her fellow student/pal Bob Palmer see people with all sorts of afflictions, from depressed, suicidal Eugene Wells to precariously thin, anorexic teenager Lillie Carter. Meanwhile, Annabel, still hung up on a man who didn’t reciprocate her romantic feelings, opts for “sexual flings” courtesy of dating app Findar. Though typically cautious when meeting her dates (a public place is ideal), Annabel may get herself in trouble by being a little less prudent. Back at the hospital, a recently discharged patient, once off prescribed meds, could very well turn into an unmitigated menace. Physician and author Ebel’s (Dead Still, 2016, etc.) expertise in the medical field is unmistakable: the story’s many patient cases are diverse and enthralling. Haley Morris, for example, another teen girl like Lillie, has an entirely different problem: she may be contemplating suicide from merciless cyberbullying. At the same time, the relationship between Annabel and Bob is surprisingly multilayered. The two have been close friends since they were on the surgery rotation together. But though it’s clear Annabel wants nothing more than friendship, she’s annoyed by and perhaps jealous of Bob spending time with med student Karla Weaver. There are a few jolts, like patients taking sudden turns for the worse. The final act, however, in which one individual could potentially become violent, happens so late in the story that there’s no room for suspense to generate before the novel ends.At its best as a drama, with a protagonist whose distressing professional and personal lives in and out of the hospital produce a gripping tale.
Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2016
Page Count: 264
Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2017
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Harper Lee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 11, 1960
A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.
Pub Date: July 11, 1960
Page Count: 323
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960
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