Dreamy, drifty, and droll, studded with lush botanical description and historical gems. Schine’s many fans will enjoy.


The plight of Jewish intellectuals evicted from their homes by Hitler meets the plight of Los Angeles families trapped in their homes by the pandemic.

“ ‘I do not believe in life after death,’ Mamie said. ‘I sometimes have trouble believing in life before death: it is all so improbable.’ ” With her usual bounty of witticisms and aperçus, Schine takes on the recent plague year from the perspectives of two protagonists. Mamie Künstler is a 93-year-old violinist who came to Los Angeles from Vienna in 1939 with her parents, Austrian Jews who became fixtures in the Hollywood émigré community. Eighty-some years later, Mamie lives in a bungalow in Venice with her long-time companion, Agatha, “a person of indeterminate age and indeterminate nationality whose job description was both indeterminate and, as far as Julian could tell, all-encompassing.” Julian is Mamie's grandson, age 24. When we meet him, he is lolling around New York pursuing esoteric hobbies, such as transcribing the screenplays of Kurosawa. Desperate to jump-start his life, Julian’s parents send him to the West Coast to help Mamie, who has recently fractured her wrist, and Agatha, whose driver’s license has been suspended. Not long after Julian arrives, he’s trapped by lockdown. “I’m terrified, pissed off, and bored,” he tells his grandmother. “That is a perfect description of my childhood, Julian. Uncanny.” As the relationship between the two develops, as the rhythms of quarantine take over, including the ubiquitous “jingling tray” of the cocktail hour(s), Mamie begins to share the stories of her youth, which feature well-known real people such as Otto Preminger, Arnold Schoenberg, and, most importantly, Greta Garbo. Meanwhile, Julian is awarded a pandemic romance, allowing Schine to revisit the unpleasant social rituals of 2020 and ’21 with characteristic wryness: “With the languorous timing of a stripper, Sophie detached one elastic from one ear, the other elastic from the other ear. She batted her eyelashes at him, then slowly, slowly lowered the mask as if it were a veil, an exotic veil.”

Dreamy, drifty, and droll, studded with lush botanical description and historical gems. Schine’s many fans will enjoy.

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 9781250805904

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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