by Calix Leigh-Reign ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 22, 2016
A somewhat standard, if rousing, supernatural tale combined with a gleefully eccentric teenage romance.
In Leigh-Reign’s debut sci-fi thriller, a teenage misanthrope questions his disturbing proclivities and even his origin after he becomes inexplicably captivated by a new girl at school.
Californian Adam Caspian definitely isn’t a typical 16-year-old. He spends his days sexually desiring his mother, JoAnn, and hating people in general, often referring to them as “animals.” He’s able to subdue these tendencies enough to function socially—although he might have had something to do with the disappearance of a local grocery clerk. However, he’s thoroughly unprepared for Carly Wit, a new student at his high school who doesn’t repulse him; in fact, he can’t stop thinking about her. Carly is definitely peculiar; for example, the dark rings around the irises of her eyes sometimes turn crimson, and at one point, a bump on her forehead, due to an errant football, mysteriously disappears the next day. It turns out that there’s plenty that Adam doesn’t know about Carly—or about himself. He decides to look into his own background after he also rapidly recovers from a serious accident. He soon discovers that he may actually be Russian, like Carly, and that they’re both descended from lineages with a rare, powerful genetic mutation. They also have other relatives with supernatural abilities, collectively called Iksha, who once held their ancestors captive. As Adam slowly learns about his own capabilities, he exposes secrets involving his parents and others. But is there enough light in Carly to save him, or will his darkness engulf them both? Despite the fact that the novel has teenage protagonists, it’s certainly not aimed at readers of that age. Adam, for example, revels in, rather than represses, his Oedipus complex, even believing that he and JoAnn furtively share a mutual attraction. He’s an indelible character, though—an unhinged young man who, by the time he’s partnered with Carly, becomes a convincing romantic lead. This transformation is surprising, but it works because Leigh-Reign delves into his dense back story, which largely explains his darker impulses. Adam is also shown to genuinely care for Carly, who’s a strong character on her own. The book’s second half more closely resembles a YA tale, as it concentrates on the suspense of a lurking enemy and paranormal confrontations.A somewhat standard, if rousing, supernatural tale combined with a gleefully eccentric teenage romance.
Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2016
Page Count: 256
Publisher: Nnylluc Book Group
Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2016
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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