A quick-witted insider’s view of the blogosphere, media pandering, Internet privacy and the difficulty of being a good girl...


Fat celebrity thighs and coke-sniffing coeds are fair fodder in this rollicking tour into the life of a gossip blogger, from former Slate editor Grose.

When Alex graduated from Wesleyan, she was hoping for a job in serious journalism. Change the world kind of stuff. But alas, she ended up at an NYC online music journal. When an offer to write for Chick Habit came along (a real salary and the chance to write about real issues), she counted herself lucky. That was before the quotas began—she needs a million hits a month, or else. So goodbye sad stories about foreign ladies, hello Real Housewives. This new numbers game is keeping Alex shackled to her laptop, scanning news feeds all day for potentially sexy stories to blog about. Alex knows things are out of hand when her sweet boyfriend, Peter, begs her to shower. Monday begins with a story about a fallen beauty queen, but then Alex gets wind of a hate blog directed at her: Break the Chick Habit, or BTCH. Alex, Tina and Rel, two other writers at Chick Habit, commiserate over scorpion bowls. Hate bloggers are common, but this one seems to have a lot of intimate information. Tuesday brings Alex a shot at blogger fame when an anonymous link is sent to her email. In the video, Becky West, MIT wunderkind, is shown snorting coke. Hardly unconventional college behavior, but it’s newsworthy because Becky’s mother is Darleen West, Tiger mom famous for her patronizing parenting books. Alex isn’t sure she should publish—does Becky deserve the notoriety? Alex’s boss, Moira, herself born of the flames of U.K. tabloids, pushes forward. The next day, the video goes viral, Alex will soon appear on the Today show, and BTCH is threatening to expose some dark secrets. Before she has a nervous breakdown, Alex has to find the missing Becky, track the creator of BTCH, reconcile with a furious Peter and patch up her fading sense of self.

A quick-witted insider’s view of the blogosphere, media pandering, Internet privacy and the difficulty of being a good girl in a bad, bad world.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-218834-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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