A novel only for those who want to update their reading of the Nobel Prize–winning Coetzee.

THE SCHOOLDAYS OF JESUS

Coetzee continues the allegorical musings he began in The Childhood of Jesus with this sequel, which is equally elliptical, sparse, and vexing.

Davíd is now 6, going on 7, and preternaturally precocious. He asks “why” questions that his usually imperturbable father-figure, Simón, finds profound but unanswerable—and Davíd seems to be making little attempt to comprehend Simón’s measured responses. Davíd’s mother, Inés, the object of Simón and Davíd’s quest in Coetzee’s previous novel, is preoccupied with Davíd’s education, for the three of them have run away from Novilla (in the unnamed country they inhabit) and fled to Estrella, where they hope to find a new life. Eventually Simón and Inés enroll Davíd in an academy of dance, where he comes under the mystical sway of instructor Ana Magdalena Arroyo, who believes dancing is connected to numbers in the stars. Meanwhile, Ana Magdalena is “worshiped” by the creepy Dmitri, an attendant at a local museum. All of this is vaguely symbolic, vaguely irritating, and, unfortunately, only vaguely interesting. Coetzee’s characters seem a bit bloodless and unreal, as though they’re floating through a dream world in a parallel universe only tenuously connected to ours. Although Coetzee deals in big themes (repentance, guilt, shame, lust), these qualities remain curiously abstract rather than attached to flesh-and-blood characters—perhaps appropriate in such an opaquely allegorical work. Coetzee is a master of the laconic style here, but there’s a quirkiness in his writing (for example, the repetition of “He, Simón...” ad infinitum) that the reader might ultimately find irksome.

A novel only for those who want to update their reading of the Nobel Prize–winning Coetzee.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2266-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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