Soapy, fast-paced fun with a murder thrown in for good measure.

INDEPENDENTLY WEALTHY

In a sequel to New Money (2013), spunky heroine Savannah Morgan navigates New York’s social world while attempting to solve the mysterious death of her father.

The modern Cinderella story continues in the opening: Southern girl Savannah is still dating aspiring writer Alex, her editorial responsibilities have increased at Femme, and she’s still living an enviable life with a Central Park West apartment and a $10,000 a week allowance—all thanks to her late father, media mogul Edward Stone. Though she never knew her father (those gifts over the years were supposedly from an aunt), his will made her an heiress and pushed the children he raised, Ned and Caroline, to the inheritance sidelines. Despite the initial animosity, the three are now committed to finding out the truth about their father’s death. They suspect he may have been ready to blow the whistle on some powerful people—but whom? Sen. Carys Caldwell, with whom he was having an affair? Her jilted husband? The COO of Amicus, accused of polluting a lake and causing the deaths of innocents? Or someone closer to home?  Mixed in with the light mystery is the real focus of the novel: the state of Savannah’s various relationships. She breaks it off with Alex because he's too controlling; she gets closer to Caroline and enjoys newfound sisterhood; she and Ned are frequently at loggerheads, though he's endearingly protective; and she builds a romance with Wes Caldwell that's almost too good to be true. Watch out, Savannah! Rosenthal’s prose is occasionally clunky, focusing on inconsequential details, but her heroine's likability makes the flaws forgivable. After some impressive investigative work and a few moments of jeopardy, Savannah cracks the case. Her love life, however, may be less predictable.

Soapy, fast-paced fun with a murder thrown in for good measure.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-04035-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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