by Caroline Kepnes ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 19, 2018
Kepnes, whose previous novels deftly dealt with obsessive love, changes gears here and injects into this "Beauty and the...
The mysterious return of a kidnapped boy is more curse than blessing in this novel—which is equal parts love story, thriller, and horror tale.
In Nashua, New Hampshire, young teen Jon Bronson is the sort of boy who loves newspapers and hamsters and takes the long way to school to avoid bullies. He also loves fellow teen and popular budding artist Chloe Sayers, though he never admits as much. Kepnes (Hidden Bodies, 2016, etc.) nails the tentative feelings that develop between kids from different middle school social strata. When Jon vanishes one morning—it’s revealed early on that his kidnapper is local substitute teacher Roger Blair—the relative speed with which the town’s interest wanes is nearly as devastating as his disappearance, a narrative trick Kepnes pulls off seamlessly. Four years later, a more muscular Jon emerges from the local mall with no memory of his captivity and a new obsession with the work of H.P. Lovecraft, particularly the novel The Dunwich Horror, which features a man named Wilbur Whateley, with whom Jon begins to identify. Soon after Jon's return, strange things begin happening to the people around him, from getting nosebleeds to fainting and even having a fatal heart attack. Jon disappears again, voluntarily this time, fearing that, like Wilbur, he’s the monster whose mere presence causes sickness and death. Kepnes follows Jon, Chloe, and Charles "Eggs" DeBenedictus, a detective from Providence, Rhode Island, over the years as they live their separate but interconnected lives: Jon in Providence under two assumed names; Chloe in New York City as an artist who shot to fame with her initial paintings of Jon during his disappearance; and Eggs as he investigates a series of seemingly unlinked heart-attack deaths of young people. As the three come closer to one another and are repelled by either choice or circumstances, the question of sacrificing love for safety becomes painfully clear to everyone.Kepnes, whose previous novels deftly dealt with obsessive love, changes gears here and injects into this "Beauty and the Beast"–like story a deeper allegory about how far we’ll go to protect the things we love the most.
Pub Date: June 19, 2018
Page Count: 384
Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018
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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 Kristin Hannah ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2006
Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.
Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.
Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.
Pub Date: March 1, 2006
Page Count: 400
Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005
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