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HOW TO MARRY KEANU REEVES IN 90 DAYS

The interestingly prickly heroine's identity quest seems shoehorned into a romance with her caretaker friend.

Friends become lovers after years of friendzoning each other in this part–road trip, part-sitcom romance.

Bethany Lu is an artist in her 40s who’s beginning to make a name for herself. Nice guy Truman Erickson is an economics professor she’s known for decades. They live in the same New York City building, belonging to Bethany's wealthy money-manager father, and they're also tied together by memories of Cole, her dead brother, who was Truman's best friend. Her high school BFF Dawn is convinced Tru and Bethany, who goes by Lu, belong together. But Lu can't handle the idea of risking her safe friendship with him, treating him with bossy familiarity. Tru has his own guilt about Cole’s passing, which has made him wary of expressing his romantic feelings for Lu. So when Lu sees the news that Keanu Reeves, her celebrity crush, is getting married and decides to track him down to change his mind, Tru offers to help though he's exasperated with her obsession. On their trips around New York and to other parts of the country, they finally end up in bed, but they still manage to avoid even the most basic communication. As the novel is told in the first person from both characters' points of view, we know they both feel more than they show, but instead of making us root for them, these glimpses into their thoughts raise doubts about their potential for adult intimacy. Jackson aims for a lighthearted road-movie feel, but the pacing and tone are uneven, zipping from episodes of zaniness to immature tiffs and self-recrimination. The fanfic-based Reeves odyssey never recedes to the background, so a quirky device meant to create forced proximity between the lovers competes with the actual relationship.

The interestingly prickly heroine's identity quest seems shoehorned into a romance with her caretaker friend.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5387-0350-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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

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JUST FOR THE SUMMER

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Two people with bad luck in relationships find each other through a popular Reddit thread.

Emma Grant and her best friend, Maddy, are travel nurses, working at hospitals for three-month stints while they see the country. Just a few weeks before they’re set to move to Hawaii, Emma reads a popular “Am I the Asshole” Reddit thread from a Minnesota man who thinks he’s cursed—women he dates find their soulmates after breaking up with him, and the latest one found true love with his best friend! Emma has had a similar experience, which inspires her to DM the man and commiserate. She’s delighted by her witty, lively interactions with software engineer Justin Dahl, and is intrigued when he suggests that if they date each other, maybe they’ll each find their soulmate afterward. Emma upends the Hawaii plan and convinces Maddy to move to Minneapolis for the summer so she can meet Justin in person. The overly complex setup brings Emma and Justin together and the two hit it off, with Justin immediately falling head over heels for Emma. Jimenez then pivots to creating romantic roadblocks and melodramatic subplots centering on each character’s family of origin. Justin’s mother is about to serve six years in prison for embezzlement, which means Justin must move back home to care for his three much younger siblings. Emma was traumatized by her own mother for much of her childhood, left to fend for herself and eventually abandoned in the foster system. When her mother shows up in Minnesota, Emma must face her traumatic childhood and admit that she has prioritized her mother’s well-being over her own. There is little time devoted to Emma’s painful efforts to heal herself enough to accept Justin’s love, which leaves the novel feeling unsatisfying.

A wallowing, emotionally wrenching family drama that leaves little time for romance.

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781538704431

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Forever

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2024

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