A fine adventure story that will make readers await the next installment with bated breath.

Fever Quest

From the The Isabella Rockwell Trilogy series , Vol. 2

In Parry’s (Winter’s Bite, 2014, etc.) second book in the Isabella Rockwell trilogy, 16-year-old Isabella continues the search for her father and tangles with a dangerous diamond magnate.

Isabella and Midge, an orphan boy she befriended in the first book, have just arrived after a long ocean journey at the Port of Mombasa in East Africa. Fellow travelers include Livia and Rose, two popular, well-to-do girls whom Isabella envies. Parry fashions a compelling struggle among the trio, highlighted with moments of typical teenage jealousy. Then Isabella receives word that her father, a sergeant in the English army who was presumed dead, has been spotted at the Afghan border—but due to his injuries, he’s unable to identify himself. While still aboard ship, Midge and Isabella meet Col. Remus Stone, the governor of Golconda in India, who drunkenly waves around a large, spectacularly beautiful diamond. He tells them that at the entrance of the Golconda mine sits a statue of a goddess whose “third eye,” a special diamond, was stolen long ago. Stone hopes that it’s the same one he has, as he fervently believes a legend that says that until the diamond is returned, no one can unearth any other gems from the mine. Soon after Isabella leaves the ship, she comes upon an old friend who implores her to deliver a special package to a place far from where her father is rumored to be. To complicate matters further, Isabella and Midge have a falling out, and he opts to travel without her. The heartbroken Isabella soon receives a letter from Stone saying that he’s kidnapped Midge and instructing her to meet them at the mine. Parry’s tale is an adventurous, serpentine journey, rich with poetic, cinematic description (“The docks at the port of Masulipatam were thronged with people….Despite her sadness, to suddenly hear so many people speaking Hindi all around her was lovely, as if some central spring in her, which had been wound tight, could suddenly relax”) and many surprising moments that beg rapid page-turning. She weaves this marvelously complex tale with skill, as all the various subplots mesh perfectly at the book’s end. Isabella is a terrific heroine—daring, industrious, and strong—but her struggles with self-doubt will make her thoroughly relatable for teenage readers.

A fine adventure story that will make readers await the next installment with bated breath.

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9573321-3-3

Page Count: 284

Publisher: Neilsen Book

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2015

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

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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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Less bleak than the subject matter might warrant—Hannah’s default outlook is sunny—but still, a wrenching depiction of war’s...


 The traumatic homecoming of a wounded warrior.

The daughter of alcoholics who left her orphaned at 17, Jolene “Jo” Zarkades found her first stable family in the military: She’s served over two decades, first in the army, later with the National Guard. A helicopter pilot stationed near Seattle, Jo copes as competently at home, raising two daughters, Betsy and Lulu, while trying to dismiss her husband Michael’s increasing emotional distance. Jo’s mettle is sorely tested when Michael informs her flatly that he no longer loves her. Four-year-old Lulu clamors for attention while preteen Betsy, mean-girl-in-training, dismisses as dweeby her former best friend, Seth, son of Jo’s confidante and fellow pilot, Tami. Amid these challenges comes the ultimate one: Jo and Tami are deployed to Iraq. Michael, with the help of his mother, has to take over the household duties, and he rapidly learns that parenting is much harder than his wife made it look. As Michael prepares to defend a PTSD-afflicted veteran charged with Murder I for killing his wife during a dissociative blackout, he begins to understand what Jolene is facing and to revisit his true feelings for her. When her helicopter is shot down under insurgent fire, Jo rescues Tami from the wreck, but a young crewman is killed. Tami remains in a coma and Jo, whose leg has been amputated, returns home to a difficult rehabilitation on several fronts. Her nightmares in which she relives the crash and other horrors she witnessed, and her pain, have turned Jo into a person her daughters now fear (which in the case of bratty Betsy may not be such a bad thing). Jo can't forgive Michael for his rash words. Worse, she is beginning to remind Michael more and more of his homicide client. Characterization can be cursory: Michael’s earlier callousness, left largely unexplained, undercuts the pathos of his later change of heart. 

Less bleak than the subject matter might warrant—Hannah’s default outlook is sunny—but still, a wrenching depiction of war’s aftermath.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-312-57720-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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