Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Next book

THE SECOND CRACK

An enjoyable novel about sisterhood and independence—not as addicting as coffee, but still smooth and satisfying.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A woman frantically searches for her twin, who’s missing in more ways than one.

Diaz-Ludden’s (Mandela’s Reach, 2014, etc.) latest novel opens with Anne, the narrator, drinking from a porcelain teacup with cracks that have been filled with gold: “I think that if people were repaired the same way; foreheads etched with brass hairline fractures, chips of silver embedded along fingers, bolts of gold shot through hearts, then we would know the places to be careful with.” Though Anne might not be threaded by silver and gold, readers still learn about her most delicate relationships—to her Portland, Oregon, coffee shop, The Bean; and to her twin sister, Suz. The Bean is Anne’s passion—her beloved coffee addiction is well-documented throughout the book—and she’s fighting against Portland’s new infrastructure plans, which threaten the store’s location. But even more precarious is her relationship with Suz, who technically co-owns the shop but whose abandonment of the business has created distance in their once tight bond (always fascinated by Nelson Mandela, Suz has moved to South Africa to do humanitarian work). The story begins when Suz, in town visiting from Johannesburg, seemingly disappears after a drunken night out with her sister. Anne, their friends, her brother and father try to find her but to no avail, and Anne’s memories of the last night they had together are hazy. Though she frequently syncs up with Suz—a side plot involves Anne suddenly being able to inhabit Suz’s body, an ability she’s had since they were quite young—that superpower is of little help. To find her sister, Anne turns to Suz’s online presence and discovers the secret life her beloved sister has been living. The writing is polished in this strong narrative, though there are a few clichéd lines: “Coffee, like life, is complicated” or “Besides, the world is more comprehensible when things stay exactly where they belong.” Anne and Suz’s syncing plot feels unnecessary, but the narrative’s slow unraveling—particularly related to how the twins’ mother lived and died with alcoholism—strengthens its characters, especially Anne, whose actions to save her sister and store make more sense in light of her mom’s revealed history. At times, though, it feels like the author bit off more than she can chew: She dedicates quite a bit of energy to Suz’s obsession with Mandela, a well-worn idea that doesn’t feel fully realized here. Still, Diaz-Ludden captures the casual camaraderie of coffee shop clientele and the easy dialogue between family and friends.

An enjoyable novel about sisterhood and independence—not as addicting as coffee, but still smooth and satisfying.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2014

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 140


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 140


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z(2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 34


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

Next book

A LITTLE LIFE

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 34


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • 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

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Categories:
Close Quickview