An entertaining, imaginative post-apocalyptic scenario with special appeal for animal lovers.


A rebel rabbit turns the world of predators and prey on its head in this debut fantasy.

Some centuries in the future, humans—now called the Dead Gods—and many animals are extinct. According to History of the Known World by Thimble Thimbalian, “Only six kinds of creatures were left in the Million Acre Wood for the canids to hunt: Deer, raccoon, rabbit, squirrel, rat, mouse.” Rabbits believe Yah has decreed they must be Glorified by a Blessed One, or, in other words, become a predator’s meal, accepting their fate in a surrender called the Giving. It’s a dictum unquestioned by all but Anastasia, a brown yearling rabbit living in Bloody Thorn Warren. When she’s injured escaping from a Blessed One, she returns to the warren, endangering it; maybe worse, she publicly questions the mercy of Yah. Since the barren Anastasia is already something of a problem doe, this is the last straw for Olympia, the Warren Mother, who orders exile. Now, without a warren, Anastasia is enormously vulnerable, but she accidentally stabs an attacking fox with a sharpened stick, driving it off. What if next time, she could do it on purpose? As she works out strategies, stragglers from other warrens join Anastasia, who trains them and makes alliances with other prey. In exchange for nut storage, squirrels serve as sentries, and mice lend their tiny hands to making weaponry from supplies bought from Bricabrac, a water rat tinker. Meanwhile, disbelieving predators encounter fierce resistance when they target the Warren Sans Gloire, as Anastasia’s settlement is dubbed. Wolves are the landlords of the Million Acre Wood and coyotes have always collected the rent for them successfully, but now the predators are getting very hungry. This means war—and the rabbits are ready.

In his series opener, St. John presents a world similar in some ways to Richard Adams’ Watership Down (1972), where rabbits (and other animals) have language, culture, myths, and games. That said, the post-apocalyptic, apparently North American setting is far different; the points of view and abilities are more varied (a few animals are somehow able to read, piecing together what they can from texts left by the Dead Gods); and dialogue reflects human culture. A flirtatious buck named Love Bug, for example, employs rabbit-inflected pickup lines (“Did you thump just now, or was that the earth moving under my feet?”); Bricabrac calls himself “a businessrat.” Naming conventions are varied and often amusing, especially the tiny mice with names like Throat Punch, Death Rage, and Moody Loner. The premise of prey learning to fight back is intriguing but puzzling. How can carnivorous animals like wolves and foxes survive without prey? Able to reproduce without check, wouldn’t creatures like rabbits soon eat everything in sight? Perhaps the balance-of-nature question will be answered in future installments; readers are likely to want to stay tuned.

An entertaining, imaginative post-apocalyptic scenario with special appeal for animal lovers. (Fantasy, 12+)

Pub Date: June 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73-688570-3

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Harvest Oak Press

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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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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