DAVA SHASTRI'S LAST DAY

A solid debut that will appeal to readers who enjoy quirky family stories with a focus on character over action.

An extremely wealthy woman with a terminal illness leaks news of her own death so she can see how she’s mourned in the press before the sickness actually takes her life.

The year is 2044, and Dava Shastri has summoned her four adult children, as well as their romantic partners and children, to join her for the Christmas holiday on her private island off the coast of eastern Long Island. After everyone arrives and greets the family matriarch, it’s a shock to hear the media announcing that their hostess is already dead. When they confront Dava, they learn she’s been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer and she’s hired a doctor to euthanize her, which is legal in this futuristic New York. After years of pouring her sweat and tears into her charitable foundation supporting the arts, Dava wants to leave this world on her own terms and in a way that will allow her to see at least some of the beautiful tributes she expects about her life. The news of her death does spur greater media attention than ever before, but instead of accolades, Dava is dismayed to read gossip revealing truths she had long ago buried. Meanwhile, a strong winter storm hits New York, trapping the family on the island, where they have no choice but to confront the issues Dava’s predicament has raised. Told from a variety of perspectives, the story is reminiscent of Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You in that circumstances force adult children to spend several days together working through years of resentment and regret. The strength of the story lies in its depiction of a strong-willed matriarch who has doggedly pursued success while doing things her own way. Unfortunately, Ramisetti’s inclusion of so many side characters and multiple convoluted backstories makes it difficult to invest in any one plotline. The 2044 time frame also adds to the confusion, as the author fails to ground readers in this unknown era through sufficient details or descriptive explanations. Even so, Ramisetti draws nuanced characters who are introspective and entertaining.

A solid debut that will appeal to readers who enjoy quirky family stories with a focus on character over action.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-538-70386-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 19


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 122


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

IT STARTS WITH US

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 122


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

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 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Close Quickview