Apt characterization boosts this enlightening sports tale about the allure and perils of fame.


In this revised debut novel, an old baseball glove magically grants a Chicago boy athletic prowess—but the gift may come at too high a price.

Twelve-year-old Eddie Romano loves baseball but isn’t the best player on his team in the early 1990s. That changes when Eddie, while exploring a soon-to-be-demolished stadium, unearths a buried baseball glove. This takes him to “Dreamland,” where a coach helps him develop his skills. Sure enough, Eddie becomes a star player as years pass and he enters high school. But while he admires his literal dream coach (Billy Green, a major leaguer who once owned Eddie’s “magical glove”), the dark, unnerving figure truly giving the boy abilities is “the Manager.” He demands Eddie do horrible things, such as wish bad luck on teammates, to retain his skills. Eddie’s attitude turns sour, and, despite his flair on the field, he has no one to call a friend. But once he realizes that Billy’s spirit is the Manager’s prisoner, Eddie may give up everything to help his beloved coach escape the sinister being’s clutches. Agnello’s engaging novel, revised with Rae, showcases a morally complex young hero. For example, an enigmatic voice in Eddie’s head leads him astray while the baseball legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, via supernatural phone calls, offer useful advice. This spawns several relatable lessons that Eddie, with any luck, will digest, such as realizing his self-worth and following the golden rule. At the same time, a solid mystery runs throughout as readers gradually learn how Billy found himself in his terrible predicament. The authors keep the story simple, with an unadorned prose and only a handful of the large cast spotlighted. There’s likewise an understated spiritual theme, from periodic appearances by the omniscient “The Light”to speculation about who or what the chilling Manager is.

Apt characterization boosts this enlightening sports tale about the allure and perils of fame.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 410

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 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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