by Daisy Johnson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 23, 2018
A tense, startling book of true beauty and insight. Proof that the oldest of stories contain within them the seeds of our...
A retelling of Oedipus Rex set in the insular community of the boat people who live along the canals of Oxford.
Gretel was raised in the sole company of her mother, Sarah, on an engineless houseboat moored in a quiet part of the River Thames. Their relationship is intensely iconoclastic and isolated: They haul their own water, fish for much of their food, speak a language peppered with made-up words, school each other with entries from Sarah's encyclopedia. One winter, dogs, cats, and even children begin to go missing from the communities that live on the river. Sarah and 13-year-old Gretel believe it is the work of an uncanny creature they call the Bonak, and, with the help of a wandering boy named Marcus, they determine to trap and kill it. Now Gretel is an adult working as a lexicographer, and Sarah—who abandoned her into foster care 16 years earlier—has come back into her life in an even wilder and more unpredictable form. Sarah's phone call making contact sends Gretel on a quest into her own past: First to find Sarah, then to find Marcus, and finally to confront the Bonak, a creature made flesh by her and her mother's own fears. The book is structured in interwoven sections which alternate among Gretel's first-person perspective and the close-third-person narration of Sarah and Marcus, whose timelines take place in the past. As the truth about Marcus' identity becomes clearer, the haze that surrounds Sarah—a reimagining of Jocasta—deepens. However, where the original tale focuses on the torment of Oedipus himself, here the mother's rage, her despair, and her progressive disassociation from the known world are the centerpieces of the story. Sarah's past leaves lurid scars across her daughter's psyche as the book delves into what it means to live in a world that binds us so cruelly to our fate. Johnson's (Fen, 2017) debut novel explores the determinism of its characters’ choices even as it asserts the fluidity of their genders and their relationships with each other, in prose that harmonizes with the haunting wasteland of its setting—a place where what is discarded takes on new identity if not new life.A tense, startling book of true beauty and insight. Proof that the oldest of stories contain within them the seeds of our future selves.
Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018
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by Christina Lauren ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 10, 2018
With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.
Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.
Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.
Pub Date: April 10, 2018
Page Count: 416
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018
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by Lisa Jewell ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 24, 2018
Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.
Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.
Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.
Pub Date: April 24, 2018
Page Count: 368
Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018
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