by Jack Woodville London ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 3, 2020
A World War II novel that will make you smile—who knew?
The author obviously had fun with this oddball, imaginative South Pacific war tale.
In 1944 Hawaii, Seaman 2nd Class Bart Sullivan is a coward who counterfeits orders to leave his troop ship, the Renegade, and return stateside. “No combat for me,” he brags to Chief Petty Officer Olafson. “I’ve got my orders.” Olafson is an illiterate (an illiterate CPO—really?) and a brute who clubs Sullivan to death during a training exercise. But, nothing if not resilient, Sullivan isn’t really dead—he sees a “white light” and becomes a shade, or a spirit, and winds up in sick bay, where eventually someone realizes, “This corpse ain’t dead!” The experience has worked out well for him, and now he’s no longer a coward, so he is “about to begin the do-over of his life.” But wait, there’s more! He’s become clairvoyant: As his battle convoy heads west, he foretells the typhoon it fails to avoid. Sullivan and Olafson go overboard. Part 2 contains rich visual detail as Olafson washes ashore on an Indonesian island abounding with dangers such as cannibals and a nasty Komodo dragon. A local woman saves his life but numbs him with toxin from pitohui feathers, intending to keep him for barter. When cannibals catch him, they show him a strange object Olafson knows is a crank-powered field radio. They hear singing from it and think the box contains the voice of a god—and Olafson is their connection. Using the “god box” he teaches them to sing “Don’t Fence Me In” and “White Christmas.” The story has a few minor annoyances such as occasionally hokey dialogue and overenthusiastic use of caps—mercifully, “RRRRRAAARRGHHHOOOOAAARRRRAAARRGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!” appears only once. But it’s fun and often funny—one character thinks the Andrews Sisters are the god box’s best messengers.A World War II novel that will make you smile—who knew?
Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2020
Page Count: 235
Publisher: Vire Press, LLC
Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020
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by Kristin Hannah ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 6, 2024
A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.
A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.
When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.
Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024
Page Count: 480
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023
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More About This Book
BOOK TO SCREEN
by Colleen Hoover ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 18, 2022
Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
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
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022
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