Next book

WOMAN, EATING

Subversive and gratifying.

A Gen Z vampire suffers an identity crisis.

Lydia—a 23-year-old vampire of Japanese, Malaysian, and British descent who recently graduated art school—is excited to move to London and get a place of her own, but after dropping off her addled mother—also a vampire, and Lydia’s sire—at the Crimson Orchard nursing facility in Margate, little goes according to plan. Her single suitcase of belongings goes missing. Her unpaid gallery internship consists of nothing but bizarre busywork and unwanted advances from her lecherous boss. She has no idea what type of artist she wants to be, the boy she likes is dating someone else, and nobody in the city sells fresh pig’s blood, which is the only substance her self-loathing mum ever permitted the two of them to consume. (“Pigs are dirty. It’s what your body deserves.”) Lonely, listless, and starving, Lydia spends nights and weekends holed up in her windowless studio, bingeing Buffy the Vampire Slayer and watching YouTube videos of strangers eating, desperate for the kind of connection to the Earth and other people that actual food allows humans to feel. Debut author Kohda makes clever use of her premise to explore weighty topics—including cultural alienation, disordered eating, emotional abuse, sexual assault, the stressors of navigating adulthood, and caring for an aging parent—with sensitivity. Though aimless to start, Lydia’s achingly vulnerable first-person narration gains momentum as she achieves self-acceptance—and, ultimately, self-empowerment.

Subversive and gratifying.

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-314088-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: HarperVia

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

Next book

ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK

A grim theme with a compelling and complex plot.

A one-eyed boy becomes a monster’s prey in this chilling tale of missing children.

Thirteen-year-old Missouri boy Joseph “Patch” Macauley was born with one eye, so he wears an eye patch and imagines himself a pirate. In 1975, he sees a masked man assaulting a girl in the woods. He attacks the man and saves her, but the predator kidnaps him instead. Patch eventually wakes in total darkness in a cellar where a different girl secretly visits him, heard but always unseen. He learns that her name is Grace and that there have been other girls down there before. Grace paints vivid word pictures of the places she’s seen and of stories by authors like Steinbeck. “Pray and stay alive,” she whispers to Patch. Eventually he escapes, but she is nowhere to be found. Searching for Grace is the underlying thread in a complicated quest that takes unexpected turns over the years and might well bring heartbreak. Meanwhile, the bodies of three girls turn up locally, and their parents grieve. Is the town doctor responsible for their deaths? A local school photographer? Both? Patch paints an image of Grace based only on what he’d heard from her in the cellar; then come more paintings and displays in an art gallery—an implausible achievement for an untrained artist. Meanwhile, Grace may be anywhere, and he must find her whether alive or dead. By now an adult, he “pinball[s]” from state to state, meeting with “a dozen families looking for a dozen lost girls.” To sustain himself he robs banks with an unloaded flintlock, and he shares his loot with organizations that are looking for missing children. He has “reasoned the truest proof of life [is] pain,” and he vows that he will die before he quits his search. This is much more than a whodunit, though it fills that bill well. It is also a richly layered tale of love, loss, and hope.

A grim theme with a compelling and complex plot.

Pub Date: June 25, 2024

ISBN: 9780593798874

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

Next book

THE GOD OF THE WOODS

"Don't go into the woods" takes on unsettling new meaning in Moore's blend of domestic drama and crime novel.

Many years after her older brother, Bear, went missing, Barbara Van Laar vanishes from the same sleepaway camp he did, leading to dark, bitter truths about her wealthy family.

One morning in 1975 at Camp Emerson—an Adirondacks summer camp owned by her family—it's discovered that 13-year-old Barbara isn't in her bed. A problem case whose unhappily married parents disdain her goth appearance and "stormy" temperament, Barbara is secretly known by one bunkmate to have slipped out every night after bedtime. But no one has a clue where's she permanently disappeared to, firing speculation that she was taken by a local serial killer known as Slitter. As Jacob Sluiter, he was convicted of 11 murders in the 1960s and recently broke out of prison. He's the one, people say, who should have been prosecuted for Bear's abduction, not a gardener who was framed. Leave it to the young and unproven assistant investigator, Judy Luptack, to press forward in uncovering the truth, unswayed by her bullying father and male colleagues who question whether women are "cut out for this work." An unsavory group portrait of the Van Laars emerges in which the children's father cruelly abuses their submissive mother, who is so traumatized by the loss of Bear—and the possible role she played in it—that she has no love left for her daughter. Picking up on the themes of families in search of themselves she explored in Long Bright River (2020), Moore draws sympathy to characters who have been subjected to spousal, parental, psychological, and physical abuse. As rich in background detail and secondary mysteries as it is, this ever-expansive, intricate, emotionally engaging novel never seems overplotted. Every piece falls skillfully into place and every character, major and minor, leaves an imprint.

"Don't go into the woods" takes on unsettling new meaning in Moore's blend of domestic drama and crime novel.

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593418918

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

Close Quickview