An uplifting tale about a woman who voices her desires and transcends her limitations, shedding a revealing and flattering...

My Perfect Imperfections

In this novel, a young woman with cerebral palsy lives, loves, and thrives.

Confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak without assistance from an electronic device, Lily Cooper accepts being dependent on others for help. Her only friend—her beloved sister, Layna—treats her like an equal, while her well-intentioned parents fight about her care. When Layna dies unexpectedly, Lily sinks into depression (“I have no idea of the purpose of my existence anymore. I question what it is in this world that is still keeping me alive”). But eventually she realizes that she must reimagine her future. What follows is an inspiring glimpse into the active and determined mind of a person who, from the outside, appears to be unresponsive. Lily remains, in fact, painfully aware of other people, from those who speak loudly and slowly as if she can’t understand them to those who call her “retarded” just to hurt her feelings. But the ones who take the time to learn how to communicate with her become charmed by her determination and grace. Lily never lets her disability stop her from pursuing her dreams. She finishes high school, attends college, gets her own apartment, and starts a family. Although there are a couple of structural hiccups (the time shifts in the first act seem unnecessary and cause Lily to introduce herself twice to the reader), Williby (Loving You Hurts So Good, 2016, etc.) successfully balances Lily’s many triumphs with detailed descriptions of the day-to-day hardships of living with cerebral palsy. Lily requires help performing the most basic tasks, and her limited mobility sometimes leaves her stranded in awkward—and potentially dangerous—situations. In one thought-provoking scene, Lily’s parents deliberately seize her communication device to keep her from asking too many questions about a painful subject. But Lily is willing to fight for her independence, especially when she meets Chance Ryker, who watched his father die from ALS and fears meeting the same fate. In one especially lovely scene, he tells Lily, “I love to see you smile because you smile with your eyes.” 

An uplifting tale about a woman who voices her desires and transcends her limitations, shedding a revealing and flattering light on the private lives of the disabled.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5152-2474-7

Page Count: 206

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 29, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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