A likable, if unevenly executed, coming-of-age story that sets grim history against carefree childhood days.




From the Katzenstein Kids series

Sullivan’s debut novel tells the story of four school friends’ summer adventure investigating a long-buried mystery.

In 1942, Nazi soldiers on patrol in Egypt uncover what they call a “Red Ruby”—code for an artifact of supernatural power—which officers commandeer. They task their prisoner, a Jewish comic-book artist named Herman Katzenstein—who studied under an Egyptologist—with translating the object’s hieroglyphs. If he can do so, his life will be spared and he’ll be reunited with his daughter. Fast-forward to 1979, and 13-year-old Will McMurphy and his best friends, Isaac and Dez, are gearing up for a summer of idling. All three boys have troubles at home, but in their treehouse, they’re able to relax, read comics, and listen to music. Their holidays take an adventurous turn when 13-year-old Amy Howard joins their group and they come into possession of a comic book from 1939—written by Katzenstein. But soon, the four friends find that a scary Russian woman in a black Mercedes is following them. What dangerous secrets does the comic book hold? And what happened to Katzenstein and his daughter? Sullivan writes in a workmanlike, unpolished manner, describing events in a fashion that feels more like a movie than a novel. This, combined with the book’s lengthy historical opening, makes for a slow beginning. After Will and his friends enter the story, though, the text comes alive, as the teens bring urgency and a bubbling liveliness to the proceedings; the appealing tone feels like a cross between Enid Blyton’s work and Stranger Things. With Amy’s inclusion, the others behave in a more mature manner. Ultimately, various narrative elements tie together to make the Katzenstein Kids’ first adventure a page-turner. (A smattering of black-and-white illustrations by debut artist Suarez add texture, but they’re too infrequent to do the book justice.)

A likable, if unevenly executed, coming-of-age story that sets grim history against carefree childhood days.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73424-431-1

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2020

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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