A dramatic and absorbing tale of a historic storm.

HARRY AND THE HURRICANE

Based on real events, this debut illustrated children’s book tells the story of how a boy, his family, and his dog survive the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926.

Harry Berg is almost 4 years old when his family relocates from Detroit to Miami in search of new opportunities, like many white Northerners of the time. For Harry and his little brother, Russ, Miami is excitingly different from up north, with its palm trees, tropical flowers, and exotic-sounding neighborhoods. The Bergs settle in, adopt a stray puppy they name Patches, and move first into a duplex and then to a small house that, though covered in tar paper, actually contains an indoor toilet. Life is good—and then a huge storm hits Miami on Sept. 18, 1926. In their frail house, the family prays to stay alive. After passing safely through the eye of the hurricane, the group finds the next day even more terrifying. Harry, clutching Patches tight, manages to find safety with neighbors in their Model T; everyone survives. Though for years afterward the boy has nightmares, they eventually fade. Looking back in 2006, Harry realizes the hurricane taught him the importance of protecting those you love and to “Fear Nothing” because protective forces watch over everyone. An afterword, epilogue, and family photographs round out the story, along with simple but attractive monochrome images by debut illustrator Petersmark; the full-color cover is somewhat misleading in showing a cheerful Harry mid-hurricane. In his book, author Gordon Berg draws on family history and hurricane survivors’ accounts. The terrifying event comes alive, not just its destructiveness, but also small details. Hiding under a table, Harry notices “the faded alphabet I had scrawled underneath when I was in first grade. If I could rearrange the letters now, they would spell, ‘HELP US.’ ” Adding to the drama, the hurricane comments on the action like a psychopathic killer: “I blew her house apart a few hours ago. She is now tying herself to a tree….What is that she’s holding? A baby…wrapped in a blanket. My my.” Though harrowing, the story effectively emphasizes faith and mutual support.

A dramatic and absorbing tale of a historic storm.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-943995-96-7

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Mission Point Press

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2019

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.

THE CHASE

From the Briar U series

In this opener to Kennedy’s (Hot & Bothered, 2017, etc.) Briar U romance series, two likable students keep getting their signals crossed.

Twenty-one-year-old Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is expelled from Brown University in the middle of her junior year because she was responsible for a fire at the Kappa Beta Nu sorority house. Fortunately, her father has connections, so she’s now enrolled in Briar University, a prestigious institution about an hour outside Boston. But as she’s about to move into Briar’s Kappa Beta Nu house, she’s asked to leave by the sisters, who don’t want her besmirching their reputation. Her older brother Dean, who’s a former Briar hockey star, comes to her rescue; his buddies, who are still on the hockey team, need a fourth roommate for their townhouse. Three good-looking hockey jocks and a very rich, gorgeous fashion major under the same roof—what could go wrong? Summer becomes quickly infatuated with one of her housemates: Dean’s best friend Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald. There’s a definite spark between them, and they exchange smoldering looks, but the tattooed Fitzy, who’s also a video game reviewer and designer, is an introvert who prefers no “drama” in his life. Summer, however, is a charming extrovert, although she has an inferiority complex about her flagging scholastic acumen. As the story goes on, the pair seem to misinterpret each other’s every move. Meanwhile, another roommate and potential suitor, Hunter Davenport, is waiting in the wings. Kennedy’s novel is full of sex, alcohol, and college-level profanity, but it never becomes formulaic. The author adroitly employs snappy dialogue, steady pacing, and humor, as in a scene at a runway fashion show featuring Briar jocks parading in Summer-designed swimwear. The book also manages to touch on some serious subjects, including learning disabilities and abusive behavior by faculty members. Summer and Fitzy’s repeated stumbles propel the plot through engaging twists and turns; the characters trade off narrating the story, which gives each of them a chance to reveal some substance.

A steamy, glitzy, and tender tale of college intrigue.    

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-72482-199-7

Page Count: 372

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

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