An often appealing, well-informed novel about cultural differences and animal rights.


A California veterinarian travels to Japan to protest animal slaughter and meets a carefree executive in Pourasgari’s novel.

American Tessa Walker visited her aunt in Japan when she was young and has since been haunted by a particular memory: In coastal Taiji, when she was 16, she witnessed the slaughter of dolphins in a bloody bay. Now 40, she’s still troubled by the recollection and plans a trip to Japan to protest the commercial killing of dolphins and whales: “It was personal. For her, it had all started in Japan, and it would have to end here.” Upon arrival, her friend Akira, an American who lives in Tokyo, shows her around and teaches her about complexities of Japanese culture, including specific traditions of gift giving. While alone one day, a drunk, obnoxious man, out with his buddies, grabs and kisses Tessa on a dare. She feels violated, slaps him, and tells him off. Sometime later, she sees him again on the street and grabs and kisses him in front of his girlfriend to embarrass him. She eventually finds out that he’s the son of the co-owner of a clothing corporation. Tessa initially sees him as rich and spoiled but finds herself intrigued by him, and the feeling is mutual. As the day of the protest approaches, she’s opened Toshiro’s eyes to the issue but has also attracted the attention of the police, who watch her closely. Pourasgari presents a multifaceted novel that is as much about travel and culture clashes as it is an unexpected story of a relationship, with a protagonist who brings a refreshingly seasoned perspective to the proceedings. As a veterinarian, Tessa’s concern for animals is convincing and heartfelt. Toshiro’s introduction, achieved through unlikely chance meetings in Tokyo, is handled in a clunky manner, but his role develops and becomes more complicated as the book goes on, and his feelings about visitors from abroad add complexity. Tessa’s exposure to and ruminations on Japan’s culture are also carefully considered.

An often appealing, well-informed novel about cultural differences and animal rights.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2023

ISBN: 9780977978045

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Linbrook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2022

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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