An artful, thought-provoking, and memorable work of fiction.


A modern-day parable about truth, retribution, and grace that combines gritty inner-city realism with fairy-tale symbolism.

This unusual and ambitious novel from the author of Garden’s Corner (1997) packs multiple stories, dozens of characters, and profound ideas about the meaning of life, the value of faith, and the nature of truth into just 250 pages. The Boy, a 10-year-old who narrates half the chapters, lives a quiet, ordinary life on a nice, safe block in the City (a place that natives of Brooklyn, New York, will recognize). He rides his bike to the pizzeria and playground, goes to school and church, and stays away from a nearby housing project, named Gilead, where his mother doesn’t allow him to go. One day, a new tenant, known simply as the Old Man, comes to stay in the basement apartment that the Boy’s mother, a teacher, rents out. The man was a friend of the Boy’s grandfather and has returned to settle some unfinished business with people who harmed Mama in the past. Meanwhile, one of Mama’s young pupils has vanished after being picked up from school by her stepfather. The stories of the Boy, his mom, and the Old Man intersect in unexpected ways as the narrative moves back and forth in time, place, and point of view—from the rural South to the local church to the backrooms of the City’s illegal enterprises. The novel begins at a leisurely pace and builds through increasingly dramatic scenes to a powerful conclusion. Reed connects his narrative to timeless themes with his artistic choices, such as nesting stories within stories; giving the characters’ simple, descriptive names (the Pastor, the Kid, the Candy Man, the Merchant); and beginning every seventh chapter with a biblical quote. In engaging dialogue, the characters grapple with the impossibility of protecting children, the power of secrets, the value of storytelling, and whether a person can transcend his innate nature.

An artful, thought-provoking, and memorable work of fiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-947481-87-2

Page Count: 264

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2020

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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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