Next book

MY FIRST BOOK

Oddly exquisite.

Part essay, part story, part diatribe, part diary—even part dictionary—this book defies definition.

The narrators of this collection—a loose compilation of short works cut from Gen Z angst and internet gobbledygook—share more than a milieu. In “Love Story,” the fairytales of our youth are supplanted, “Once upon a time” replaced with “He was giving knight errant, organ-meat eater, Byronic hero....She was giving damsel in distress, pill-popper pixie dream girl.” Later on, “Halloween Forever” showcases another form of affection, that between an internet rabbit-hole denizen and “her” FBI agent, the one the meme says must be watching her. “Internet Girl” catalogs the protagonist’s descent into the digital, from Neopets to naked chat rooms. Managing to reference 2 Girls 1 Cup and 9/11 in a single sentence, the narrator continues apace, jumping from cultural touchstone to cultural touchstone without stopping for breath. The collection does take the occasional detour across a more traditional narrative arc, as in “Cancel Me,” in which the main character is locked out of a party. Standing in the rain with two dimwitted stand-ins for male mediocrity, she contemplates cancel culture, absolution, and, not for the last time, edgelords. The first-person narrators of these stories, only one of whom is named, share a hodgepodge of leftist beliefs not quite coherent enough to serve as evidence in the debate over whether they are in fact the same person. This book is billed as fiction, a truth that may recurrently shock the reader. The fictionality here is another layer to be parsed, along with thick films of irony and sincerity that demand to be scrubbed through by hand. If you text with a single index finger, steer clear. The girls who inhabit this world are only occasionally wise, but always clever.

Oddly exquisite.

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

ISBN: 9780593656532

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

Next book

THE GOD OF THE WOODS

"Don't go into the woods" takes on unsettling new meaning in Moore's blend of domestic drama and crime novel.

Many years after her older brother, Bear, went missing, Barbara Van Laar vanishes from the same sleepaway camp he did, leading to dark, bitter truths about her wealthy family.

One morning in 1975 at Camp Emerson—an Adirondacks summer camp owned by her family—it's discovered that 13-year-old Barbara isn't in her bed. A problem case whose unhappily married parents disdain her goth appearance and "stormy" temperament, Barbara is secretly known by one bunkmate to have slipped out every night after bedtime. But no one has a clue where's she permanently disappeared to, firing speculation that she was taken by a local serial killer known as Slitter. As Jacob Sluiter, he was convicted of 11 murders in the 1960s and recently broke out of prison. He's the one, people say, who should have been prosecuted for Bear's abduction, not a gardener who was framed. Leave it to the young and unproven assistant investigator, Judy Luptack, to press forward in uncovering the truth, unswayed by her bullying father and male colleagues who question whether women are "cut out for this work." An unsavory group portrait of the Van Laars emerges in which the children's father cruelly abuses their submissive mother, who is so traumatized by the loss of Bear—and the possible role she played in it—that she has no love left for her daughter. Picking up on the themes of families in search of themselves she explored in Long Bright River (2020), Moore draws sympathy to characters who have been subjected to spousal, parental, psychological, and physical abuse. As rich in background detail and secondary mysteries as it is, this ever-expansive, intricate, emotionally engaging novel never seems overplotted. Every piece falls skillfully into place and every character, major and minor, leaves an imprint.

"Don't go into the woods" takes on unsettling new meaning in Moore's blend of domestic drama and crime novel.

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593418918

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 14


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

SANDWICH

A moving, hilarious reminder that parenthood, just like life, means constant change.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 14


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

During an annual beach vacation, a mother confronts her past and learns to move forward.

Her family’s annual trip to Cape Cod is always the highlight of Rocky’s year—even more so now that her children are grown and she cherishes what little time she gets with them. Rocky is deep in the throes of menopause, picking fights with her loving husband and occasionally throwing off her clothes during a hot flash, much to the chagrin of her family. She’s also dealing with her parents, who are crammed into the same small summer house (with one toilet that only occasionally spews sewage everywhere) and who are aging at an alarmingly rapid rate. Rocky’s life is full of change, from her body to her identity—she frequently flashes back to the vacations of years past, when her children were tiny. Although she’s grateful for the family she has, she mourns what she’s lost. Newman (author of the equally wonderful We All Want Impossible Things, 2022) imbues Rocky’s internal struggles with importance and gravity, all while showcasing her very funny observations about life and parenting. She examines motherhood with a raw honesty that few others manage—she remembers the hard parts, the depths of despair, panic, and anxiety that can happen with young children, and she also recounts the joy in a way that never feels saccharine. She has a gift for exploring the real, messy contradictions in human emotions. As Rocky puts it, “This may be the only reason we were put on this earth. To say to each other, I know how you feel.”

A moving, hilarious reminder that parenthood, just like life, means constant change.

Pub Date: June 18, 2024

ISBN: 9780063345164

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

Close Quickview