Quantum physics was never funnier. A great read.

HERE I GO AGAIN

In a whimsical twist on the Back to the Future scenario, a bully returns to her high school days to right some wrongs.

At 17, Lissy Ryder was the Mean Girl of Lyons Township High in suburban Chicago. As head cheerleader and girlfriend of the football team captain, Duke, she had a clique of cool girls in her thrall, and she persecuted anyone who was different or nonconformist. Now 37, Lissy, a publicist, lives only to overspend. After she’s fired by her PR firm for shirking, her husband, Duke, stops covering her massive debts and asks for a divorce. She’s gained a few pounds since moving back to her parents’ house and is not looking forward to the 20-year reunion of LTH’s class of ’92. Hoping to network with her former sycophants, she’s appalled to find that, without exception, her victims have outclassed and outperformed her. Amy, a girl Lissy mocked for her long nose, is now a plastic surgeon to the stars. One-time hippie outcast Debbie is now Deva, a New-Age entrepreneur. Brian, a dorky but attractive neighbor Lissy dumped for Duke, is an Internet couponing mogul. At the reunion, Lissy is the pariah. When Deva gives her a rare Incan potion, Lissy thinks it’s a hangover cure, until she wakes up in her parents’ house—in 1991! Lissy seizes this opportunity to avoid karmic missteps, dialing down the meanness. Back in the future, Lissy is not only happily hitched to Duke, but as the CEO of a thriving Chicago PR firm, is supporting him. She has it all, including the Birkin bag and the Gold Coast town house. However, now her victims are failures: Brian toils in a grim cubicle, the plastic surgeon is a trailer-trash drunk, etc. How can Lissy rectify the unintended consequences of her well-meaning do-over? The answer, while subject to many of the logical sinkholes typical of parallel-universe tales, is still unexpected enough for a fitting and none too treacly close.

Quantum physics was never funnier. A great read.

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-451-23672-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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