A solid coming-of-age tale that gets teen turmoil right.

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YEARNING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

A teenage girl adapts to a new home, town, and school while navigating her first romantic relationship in this YA novel with hints of the paranormal.

Sixteen-year-old Gentry never lived in one place long enough to make friends or find romance. Her father; his girlfriend, Nikki; and her brother, Rawson, are forced by financial circumstances to live with her great-aunt Tom (short for Tomasina) in Wiregrass, Georgia. Her dilapidated antebellum house is too much for the old woman to manage, so she welcomes them in, but she keeps confusing Gentry for her own daughter, Sylvie, who committed suicide at 16. Gentry dreads going to school until she meets heartthrob Legend Wallace, whom she deems a “Sirloin,” her “favorite cut of beef.” She thinks that pursuing him is futile, as he’s constantly courted by cheerleaders: “I’m always doing that—yearning for the unattainable.” He’s actually interested in Rawson; they were hiding their relationship due to small-town homophobia. Gentry participates in a fake relationship with Legend to hide his secret, but her continued infatuation makes her believe that she can somehow will him to love her. Meanwhile, Gentry starts hearing the ghost of Sylvia, who cautions her against the lie of daydreams. Soon, the living and the dead must work together to right past wrongs. Eadie (Mistaken Identity, 2013) brings several topical issues into this novel, sensitively addressing themes of sexual identity, homophobia, and suicide; regarding the latter, Sylvia is shown to be tied to her mother’s house until she resolves her own past conflict—and she sees Gentry as being on the path to a similarly heartbreaking fate. Gentry’s first-person narration is well written and rings true for a teenage girl who frequently has her head in the clouds. Aunt Tom’s Southern witticisms make her a truly standout character; her memorable one-liners include the observation that “it’s so dry the trees are bribing the dogs to whiz on them.”

A solid coming-of-age tale that gets teen turmoil right.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4809-9500-0

Page Count: 390

Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2020

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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