A charming flight of fancy that provides a pleasant, thoughtful diversion.

READ REVIEW

The Sun Jumpers

A time-travel fantasy that transports four teenage cave dwellers to modern-day Los Angeles.

Luber’s (Match to the Heart, 2009) fictional Kishoki people live 10,000 years ago in an unspecified location near the River Gan. They’re hunters and gatherers, and the harsh conditions have led most of their people to leave their settlement in search of something better. Others took the advice of their shaman, Man Who Stands Alone, not to follow the “Antelope People” who left. But if nothing changes, the remaining group will die out completely. Enter Sita, the spiritual leader of an adventurous pack of 14-year olds who are about to take a journey through time and space. She’s a “star stepper” who sees bits and pieces of the future in her dreams. She’s also a “shaman-in-waiting,” the first girl to ever be in such a position. Her boyfriend, Ty, is an adventurer who’s determined to find the long-departed Antelope People and learn their secrets of survival. Ko and Shum, Ty’s “wings” (buddies), agree to accompany him in his search. After they encounter a deadly “emmydactyl” and drink a potion mixed by Sita, they awake to find themselves in the 21st century on a hilltop where the neurotic, 24-year-old Darren Davies is shooting a commercial for his father’s carpet empire. The narrative explores the friendship that develops among Darren, Ty, and Sita, as each seeks his or her identity and purpose. Luber has constructed a lighthearted romp that’s permeated by humor regarding adolescent antics, 20-something angst, and a wealth of inevitable culture-clash misunderstandings. But it also deals with some serious issues, including modern-day bigotry (the Kishoki are a dark-skinned people), the sometimes-troubled relationships between parents and offspring, and the need to find and follow one’s own truth. The author’s Kishoki words are inventive, although the translations sometimes seem frivolous: “ ‘Shnikee!’ she gasped, Kishoki for ‘yikes.’ ” Some “Questions for Discussion” appended to the end also seem unnecessary, unless Luber intends the book to be read in schools. 

A charming flight of fancy that provides a pleasant, thoughtful diversion.  

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more