A compelling, thoughtful take on a very real women’s health issue; both confidently sexy and lighthearted at the same time.


When a 25-year-old go-getter is unexpectedly hit with major news about her health, she’s forced to look at herself from a new perspective and ask what she (and her body) really wants.

Lacey Whitman is a planner. Her job as a fashion trend forecaster requires her to live 10 steps ahead of now. So it’s very much like Lacey to schedule a genetic screening to rule out certain health concerns. When that screening reveals she has the BRCA1 gene mutation, the “breast cancer gene,” her carefully forecast future comes to a grinding halt. Lacey’s mother died from breast cancer at age 31, so somewhere deep down, she knew this outcome was possible. It’s a sobering thought: No one likes to think it could be them. Lacey’s priorities shift from working on her startup project, Clean Clothes, "outfits that are on trend and ethically sound," to researching the pros and cons of a mastectomy—the Big M. This research opens doors to a community of women with the same gene mutation and whose outpouring of body positivity encourages Lacey to take charge of her situation. Enter the Boob Bucket List. Before she can confidently make the choice for preventative surgery, Lacey gives herself six months to enjoy her breasts to the fullest. While the contents of the bucket list are not the most imaginative, the list represents something greater than itself: a woman’s right to choose what’s best for her body. A focus on female sexuality and self-empowerment is not new for Clark (The Regulars, 2016, etc.), but this time it comes with a welcome dose of real-life gravitas. It’s easy to overlook the fact that Lacey only checks off some of her must-dos thanks to a few inelegantly inserted plot devices because, in the end, it’s really not about the list. Instead, we're left with the power of female support systems, the importance of self-care, and the sobering realness of Lacey’s prognosis. The fashion scene and a cute, well-mannered hipster supporting character are added bonuses.

A compelling, thoughtful take on a very real women’s health issue; both confidently sexy and lighthearted at the same time.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7302-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Emily Bestler/Atria

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

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A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch.

“Monsters are a boon for gods. Imagine all the prayers.” So says Circe, a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel. The writer returns to Homer, the wellspring that led her to an Orange Prize for The Song of Achilles (2012). This time, she dips into The Odyssey for the legend of Circe, a nymph who turns Odysseus’ crew of men into pigs. The novel, with its distinctive feminist tang, starts with the sentence: “When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.” Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child. It takes banishment to the island Aeaea for Circe to sense her calling as a sorceress: “I will not be like a bird bred in a cage, I thought, too dull to fly even when the door stands open. I stepped into those woods and my life began.” This lonely, scorned figure learns herbs and potions, surrounds herself with lions, and, in a heart-stopping chapter, outwits the monster Scylla to propel Daedalus and his boat to safety. She makes lovers of Hermes and then two mortal men. She midwifes the birth of the Minotaur on Crete and performs her own C-section. And as she grows in power, she muses that “not even Odysseus could talk his way past [her] witchcraft. He had talked his way past the witch instead.” Circe’s fascination with mortals becomes the book’s marrow and delivers its thrilling ending. All the while, the supernatural sits intriguingly alongside “the tonic of ordinary things.” A few passages coil toward melodrama, and one inelegant line after a rape seems jarringly modern, but the spell holds fast. Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells.

Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-55634-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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This book sings with the terrible silence of dead civilizations in which once there was valor.


Written with quiet dignity that builds to a climax of tragic force, this book about the dissolution of an African tribe, its traditions, and values, represents a welcome departure from the familiar "Me, white brother" genre.

Written by a Nigerian African trained in missionary schools, this novel tells quietly the story of a brave man, Okonkwo, whose life has absolute validity in terms of his culture, and who exercises his prerogative as a warrior, father, and husband with unflinching single mindedness. But into the complex Nigerian village filters the teachings of strangers, teachings so alien to the tribe, that resistance is impossible. One must distinguish a force to be able to oppose it, and to most, the talk of Christian salvation is no more than the babbling of incoherent children. Still, with his guns and persistence, the white man, amoeba-like, gradually absorbs the native culture and in despair, Okonkwo, unable to withstand the corrosion of what he, alone, understands to be the life force of his people, hangs himself. In the formlessness of the dying culture, it is the missionary who takes note of the event, reminding himself to give Okonkwo's gesture a line or two in his work, The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.

This book sings with the terrible silence of dead civilizations in which once there was valor.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 1958

ISBN: 0385474547

Page Count: 207

Publisher: McDowell, Obolensky

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1958

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