A distinctive debut from a promising author.


Intertwined tales of longing, regret, and the Holocaust.

This collection takes its title from the first story, in which a woman wishing that any one of the men who has left her would come back finds them all on her doorstep. When they tell her that she can have them all or she can remain alone, she sets them an impossible task. Suffused with a desperate desire for lives that might have been, this affecting fable sets the tone for the fiction to come. In “For Somebody So Scared,” a woman named Bridget remembers how the greatest love of her life, Kaye, made it inevitable that she would abandon her. In “From Somebody So Scared,” Kaye describes the moment when, after an absence lasting decades, Bridget returns. We see a similar device in “I Am Going To Lose Everything I Have Loved” and “To Lose Everything I Have Ever Loved,” both stream-of-consciousness stories narrated by a woman named Dinah. In the former, she presents herself as a familiar figure: the woman who doesn’t want to know that her married lover is never going to leave his wife. She is as self-obsessed as she is obsessed with Samuel, and she radiates damage. What makes her heartbreaking is that she is haunted. She’s haunted by her grandmother who survived the camps, and she also feels like the cousins who never had a chance to be born because of the Holocaust have a claim on her life and her body. In the sequel story, Dinah discovers that winning her lover for herself doesn’t mean that she can trust love. Although this is Sender’s first book, she’s no novice. She has an MFA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. She’s a Yaddo and McDowell fellow. And she has published in such well-known journals as Kenyon Review and Prairie Schooner. There are stories here that feel immature—more like student exercises than finished works—but Sender’s willingness to explore primal hurts makes her fiction compelling.

A distinctive debut from a promising author.

Pub Date: March 1, 2023

ISBN: 9781952271786

Page Count: 208

Publisher: West Virginia Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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