Crisp and coherent but still something of a soap opera: obvious, two-dimensional, not wholly convincing.



A debut novel from Halpin (Losing My Faculties: A Teacher’s Story, 2003, etc.) shows a teenager growing reconciled to the death of her mother as she comes to know (and live with) her father for the first time.

Losing a mother (to paraphrase Oscar Wilde) is a tragedy; losing two of them sounds like carelessness—especially when you never had a father. Poor Rosalind Butterfield, at 14, has a lot to figure out. Her mother, Eva, died recently when a poultry truck fell over and dumped a load of frozen chickens on her and her lesbian girlfriend Sandy on an otherwise ordinary Boston afternoon. A retired actress best known for her role in a popular TV sitcom, Eva had been artificially impregnated with the seed of her friend Sean Cassidy, a public-interest lawyer whose identity was kept secret from Rosalind until after the accident—when Sean (who’d never met Rosalind) was awarded custody. From Rosalind’s perspective it’s out of the frying pan into the fire: Not only has she lost her mother, but she’s been saddled with a dorky, single, middle-aged loser who dresses like a high-school principal and looks like someone who’s never had a date in his life. But Sean comes through, slowly and ineluctably. Although he freaks out when Rosalind comes home late and nags her about her smoking, he also saves her tail when she beats up a kid at school and is almost expelled. And he cuts her enough slack to let her spend Thanksgiving with her aunt Karen and to drop the guidance counselor who has been driving her crazy. It still sucks—Mom is never coming back, and Sean is impossibly out of it (like all grownups)—but Rosalind is beginning to see some light on the horizon. Maybe it’s what they call growing up.

Crisp and coherent but still something of a soap opera: obvious, two-dimensional, not wholly convincing.

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2004

ISBN: 1-4000-6277-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet