An endearing, if sometimes painful, read for animal lovers and a wake-up call for everyone else.

Wolf Time

This spiritual novel by Moritsch (The Soul of Yosemite, 2012) tells interweaving stories of wolves and their human advocates.

In December 2013, Sage McAllister lives in a log cabin on a privately owned tract of land in Yosemite National Park. One night, two adult gray wolves appear on her deck. Sage is a former biologist with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, so she knows that the last wolf in California was killed in 1924, making her new visitors quite miraculous. Even more incredible, the wolves speak to her, introducing themselves as Tish and Issa. They explain that they approached her because she’s a writer and they want their story told. In order to help her better record their journey, the wolves gently nip the back of her neck and bring her consciousness into “Wolf Time,” allowing her to take mental excursions into their past. Meanwhile, 11-year-old Blue is about to join Idaho’s hunting culture at the behest of his Uncle Marshall, even though the boy and his 7-year-old sister, Sunny, respect animals and find them beautiful. The siblings discover a wolf den near their house and bring home a sickly, abandoned pup. Can their love for the wolves spread to the ranchers, hunters, and others like Uncle Marshall who seek to exterminate the species? The book eventually connects several characters through a spiritual network that includes deceased wolves and humans who realize that “once fear moves out of a person, compassion can move in.” Ecologist Moritsch delivers an advocacy narrative that initially feels playful. Its use of talking animals will broaden its appeal to middle-grade audiences. Its dreamy prose and shocking statistics, though, will draw in teens and adults; during Sage’s transition to Wolf Time, for example, she says that “It felt as if I descended a long distance...floating backwards down a spiral staircase.” Moritsch goes on to inform readers that in the last century, there have only been two humans allegedly killed by wolves (in 2005 and 2010); domestic dogs, however, “kill between twenty and thirty people every year,” the book notes.

An endearing, if sometimes painful, read for animal lovers and a wake-up call for everyone else.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 293

Publisher: CJM Books

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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