STILL ME

There is something lackadaisical about the writing here that makes getting through all the plot twists a slog.

Master of cheerful uplift Moyes brings her British Everygirl heroine, Louisa Clark, back for a third go-round, this time sending her on an adventurous year in New York City.

After the death of Will, the wealthy paraplegic with whom she fell in love while working as his caretaker in Me Before You (2012), Lou found the promise of new love with paramedic Sam in After You (2015). Now she's ready to take on the kind of adventure Will always encouraged and Sam agrees she needs to experience, even if it means they have a trans-Atlantic relationship for a year. Her friend Nathan has found her a job as an assistant to the wife of his New York employer, Leonard Gopnik. Lou moves into the Gopniks' huge apartment at a prestigious Fifth Avenue address, and the novel’s strong early pages record her dizzy fascination with Manhattan. But the job is harder and New York lonelier than expected. Agnes Gopnik, who's recently arrived from Poland and was Leonard’s masseuse before becoming his second wife, finds navigating Upper East Side society a strain, to say the least. She leans on Lou as a purported friend, but Lou will learn to her dismay that a friendship between employer and servant can be slippery to maintain. So can long-distance romance. She suspects Sam’s relationship with his new partner at work might be growing more than professional, while she herself is pursued by an up-and-coming businessman who is not only charming, but bears a disconcerting resemblance to Will. Unfortunately, Lou no longer seems as fresh or endearing as she did in the earlier books. Her wit feels strained. Even her eccentric fashion sense has grown a bit annoying. Secondary characters—like the Gopniks’ elderly neighbor Mrs. DeWitt, devoted to her dog and not as mean as she seems; or Ashok, the doorman whose chaotically happy marriage provides contrast to the Gopniks’—end up more engaging than the protagonists.

There is something lackadaisical about the writing here that makes getting through all the plot twists a slog.

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-56245-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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IT ENDS WITH US

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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