A rollicking caper with a smorgasbord of kooky characters.

THE HOODLUM ARMY

In this homage to the classic Robin Hood story, two contemporary, young female robbers acquire a cult following when the public learns their thefts are committed to fulfill good intentions.

In Roderick’s rom-com/heist novel, Robin Sherwood and Maryann Forrest meet-cute when they simultaneously stick up the same bank. Maryann robs the bank to finance a “farm-slash-cooking school” for disadvantaged teens, and Robin needs money to buy her parents’ foreclosed farm at auction. After college graduation, Robin thought she’d “marry some nice girl she met at a Pride rally, take up woodworking or league soft-ball, and buy a house in some progressive suburban enclave.” But now she’s tempted to continue robbing banks by a hottie who “could be sexy even while talking through a mouth full of hot dog.” Robin crushes on Maryann even though she thinks her partner in crime probably is “straighter than a ruler.” After Maryann stencils in spray paint “DEATH 2 WALL ST. LOVE THE HOODLUM ARMY” on the wall of their second bank job, the women become underground celebrities (and Robin admonishes Maryann for not including a comma after “LOVE”). Spurred on by a fan-started Hoodlum Army Twitter account that quickly garners over 10,000 followers, the two decide to grow “our brand” by stealing not from a bank, but from a person, the notoriously slimy billionaire Larry Lemon. But the FBI is on their trail, as is police detective David Martinez, Maryann’s ex-boyfriend. Pleasures include a fast pace, entertaining dialogue, social commentary, and a certain sweetness. Plus, there’s a merry band of nontraditional characters working with Robin and Maryann to fleece Lemon, a mean, corset-wearing “fan of novelty toilets.” Word choices pleasantly surprise: An agent wears a “happy-dog smile”; David can be “ferrety” in his compulsive gnawing. Roderick weaves multiple storylines into a crazy quilt of fun with an author’s note that states: “CONTENT NOTIFICATION: racism, misogyny, xenophobia, queer antagonism, fat antagonism, trans antagonism, and appearance shaming (there is pushback against all of these). There is also minor gun violence.” And all of it wildly entertains.

A rollicking caper with a smorgasbord of kooky characters.

Pub Date: May 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73307-640-1

Page Count: 302

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 15

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2019

  • IndieBound Bestseller

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE

The much-loved royal romance genre gets a fun and refreshing update in McQuiston’s debut.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the American President Ellen Claremont, knows one thing for sure: He hates Henry, the British prince to whom he is always compared. He lives for their verbal sparring matches, but when one of their fights at a royal wedding goes a bit too far, they end up falling into a wedding cake and making tabloid headlines. An international scandal could ruin Alex’s mother’s chances for re-election, so it’s time for damage control. The plan? Alex and Henry must pretend to be best friends, giving the tabloids pictures of their bromance and neutralizing the threat to Ellen's presidency. But after a few photo ops with Henry, Alex starts to realize that the passionate anger he feels toward him might be a cover for regular old passion. There are, naturally, a million roadblocks between their first kiss and their happily-ever-after—how can American political royalty and actual British royalty ever be together? How can they navigate being open about their sexualities (Alex is bisexual; Henry is gay) in their very public and very scrutinized roles? Alex and Henry must decide if they’ll risk their futures, their families, and their careers to take a chance on happiness. Although the story’s premise might be a fantasy—it takes place in a world in which a divorced-mom Texan Democrat won the 2016 election—the emotions are all real. The love affair between Alex and Henry is intense and romantic, made all the more so by the inclusion of their poetic emails that manage to be both funny and steamy. McQuiston’s strength is in dialogue; her characters speak in hilarious rapid-fire bursts with plenty of “likes,” “ums,” creative punctuation, and pop-culture references, sounding like smarter, funnier versions of real people. Although Alex and Henry’s relationship is the heart of the story, their friends and family members are all rich, well-drawn characters, and their respective worlds feel both realistic and larger-than-life.

A clever, romantic, sexy love story.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-31677-6

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A sweet, funny, and angst-filled romance with a speculative twist.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

ONE LAST STOP

A young woman meets the love of her life on the subway, but there’s one problem: Her dream girl is actually a time traveler from the 1970s.

Twenty-three-year-old August Landry arrives in New York with more cynicism than luggage (she can fit everything she owns into five boxes, and she’d love to downsize to four), hoping to blend in and muddle through. She spent most of her childhood helping her amateur sleuth mother attempt to track down August’s missing uncle, and all that detective work didn’t leave a lot of time for things like friendship and fun. But she ends up finding both when she moves into an apartment full of endearing characters—Niko, a trans psychic whose powers are annoyingly strong; his charismatic artist girlfriend, Myla; and their third roommate, a tattoo artist named Wes. And then, on a fateful subway ride, she meets Jane. Jane isn’t like any other girl August has ever met, and eventually, August finds out why—Jane, in her ripped jeans and leather jacket, is actually a time traveler from the 1970s, and she’s stuck on the Q train. As August, who's bisexual, navigates the complexity of opening her heart to her first major crush, she realizes that she might be the only one with the knowledge and skills to help Jane finally break free. McQuiston, author of the beloved Red, White, and Royal Blue (2019), introduces another ensemble full of winning, wacky, impossibly witty characters. Every scene that takes place with August’s chosen family of friends crackles with electricity, warmth, and snappy pop-culture references, whether they’re at a charmingly eccentric 24-hour pancake diner or a drag queen brunch. But there are also serious moments, both in the dramatic yearning of August and Jane’s limited love affair (it can be hard to be romantic when all your dates take place on the subway) and in the exploration of the prejudice and violence Jane and her friends faced as queer people in the 1970s. The story does drag on a bit too long, but readers who persevere through the slower bits will be rewarded with a moving look at the strength of true love even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

A sweet, funny, and angst-filled romance with a speculative twist.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-2502-4449-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

more