Although rated for adults, Kincaid’s writing level seems more compatible with young adult novels in both verbiage and...

A CHRISTMAS HOME

The latest in Kincaid’s series about a developmentally challenged young man and his penchant for helping dogs is pleasant enough, but breaks no new ground.

Following on the heels of Kincaid’s other novels about likable canines (A Dog Named Christmas, 2008, etc.), this book finds Todd McCray all grown up into a capable young man who works for the animal shelter in the quaint town of Crossing Trails. But both his job and the town's very existence are threatened when the major employer in Crossing Trails shuts down. Suddenly, the small town of 2,000 finds itself making major cutbacks and one of those is, by necessity, doing away with the small, but busy, animal shelter. Todd and his boss, Hayley, are told by the town’s mayor that the shelter will shutter its doors no later than the first of the year, and it’s already more than a week into December. Both take the news hard, especially since the shelter has dozens of homeless dogs and cats and very few options other than sending their animals to facilities that will kill them if they aren’t adopted. With his parents, George and Mary Ann, his friend Laura and her service dog, Gracie, which Todd trained, and the assistance of other friends and residents of the tiny town, Todd looks for an alternative solution, promising none of the animals under his care will be forgotten. Kincaid, who obviously loves animals, presents a too-good-to-be-true community with a plot straight out of a television movie-of-the-week and then throws his characters through clichéd hoops. Although the solutions the group finds along the way are way too easy to come by and never seem to have a downside, the characters and settings prove pleasant enough. The writing, which is simplistic, won’t engage sophisticated readers, but for those seeking a slight, uncomplicated tale that can be read cover-to-cover in about a weekend and won’t leave the reader searching for some deeper meaning, this book fits the bill and then some.

Although rated for adults, Kincaid’s writing level seems more compatible with young adult novels in both verbiage and complexity.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-95197-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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