A sometimes bleak but engrossing tale of misdeeds and untrustworthy loved ones.


In this novel, an Irishman’s coming-of-age story involves members of his family and their ever expanding criminal records.

A nearly 30-year-old Mickey Collins, hailing from Cork, Ireland, relays his tale from behind bars. At a young age, he learns that crime is simply a part of everyday life. His mother, Tanya, gives jobs to her kids, like drug pickups, and they shoplift clothes with their uncle. Mickey and his older brother, Cillian, get into their own trouble as well, as they sample drugs at their home and (maybe accidentally) burn down an empty building. As years pass, the family’s crimes send the brothers and their sisters to various foster homes before they ultimately go back to Tanya. But as Mickey gets older, run-ins with the law land him in prison. Any time he messes up, as when he supposedly rats out Tanya, his less-than-doting mother berates him mercilessly. Sadly, there comes a point in many criminals’ lives when they have to shift blame onto others to protect themselves. But when Tanya turns on Mickey, it may be out of pure spite. Forde stylizes his novel as a transcription of Mickey’s interviews. As such, the narration meanders, as if Mickey is saying whatever pops into his head. The mostly linear story nevertheless shows clear progression; Tanya becomes more precarious, and adult Mickey’s time locked up is a veritable revolving door. Characters, including Mickey, are generally unlikable, with friends and family members double-crossing one another and rarely owning up to the crimes they commit or find themselves convicted of. Still, humor permeates the absorbing novel, especially Mickey’s unorthodox way of identifying years. As he recalls events, he can only roughly estimate his age (even his current one), and he often gauges the time frame by using his youngest sister (before and after her birth and during Tanya’s pregnancy). It all culminates in an unforgettable open ending that’s prime material for readers to debate.

A sometimes bleak but engrossing tale of misdeeds and untrustworthy loved ones.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73912-080-1

Page Count: 375

Publisher: Spright Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2022

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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