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There's More Than One Way Home

A witty, modern voice delivers a captivating tale about a mysterious death that feels like a light read but soon submerges...

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A mother questions her relationships with family and friends after classmates accuse her autistic son of murdering a student.

Levin (California Street, 1992, etc.) produces a partnership between doubt and guilt in the story of Anna Kagen and her son, a fourth-grader who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. When the novel opens, Anna is accompanying her son’s class on a field trip to Minotaur Island, a preserve nestled in the San Francisco Bay. Her son, Jack, entertains his classmates with his many Aspy party tricks, like calculating days of the week on which friends’ birthdays will fall in the distant future. All is going well until Anna decides to let Jack visit the bathroom on his own. Her misjudgment sets in motion a series of events that wreaks havoc on her family’s lives. After Jack fails to return from the bathroom, Anna realizes that not only her son, but also three other boys are missing. When the boys are located, one is dead. The other children blame Jack, claiming he pushed the student into a ditch in anger. Anna is sure her son couldn’t be the culprit, but the other parents disagree, and a modern-day witch hunt ensues. Complicating matters further, Jack’s father, Alex Kagen, is the district attorney for San Francisco, and this is an election year. Suddenly, his opponents are using his son’s predicament as a campaign tactic. Alex’s rankings begin slipping, and his already strained relationship with his wife starts to crumble to bits. As Anna scrambles to clear her son’s name and questions whether she wants to save her marriage, the author provides intriguing and gut-wrenching information about hostilities toward children with disabilities. Through her fast-paced prose, engaging plot, and sharp insights, Levin  underscores how intolerance and ignorance can cause difficult situations to spiral out of control (When a teacher on the field trip finds out the boys are missing, she squawks: “I told the principal last fall that it was a mistake to keep that Kagen boy on!”). In a friendly, nearly conversational style reminiscent of Liane Moriarty, Levin covers everything from social-climbing PTA moms in contemporary suburbia to a complex love affair and corrupt practices in the nation’s penal system. 

A witty, modern voice delivers a captivating tale about a mysterious death that feels like a light read but soon submerges the reader deep into the throes of substance.  

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9913274-6-1

Page Count: -

Publisher: Chickadee Prince Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2016

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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