CAMILLA

As in her other books, the author has incorporated in her characters a deep concern for matters of the conscience—life and death, God, war, responsibility, love, family relationships. Camilla undergoes a painful process of self reckoning as she approaches maturity from a sheltered youth. She is 15, the age when "...you lose all the privileges of being a child and get none of the privileges of being grown-up," she lives in New York City, and is the only child of wealthy, loving parents. As the book begins she has already begun to break loose from her protected background—instead of having a governess she attends school, where she has become friendly with Luisa, whose life has always been disrupted by her parents' continual fighting; and she realizes that her mother has a lover. Her initial fury at her parents, sparked by her mother's infidelity and attempted suicide and her father's lack of sympathy, develops into compassionate understanding of her pampered mother's need for affection and her father's inability to be demonstrative. Paralleling her break with her parents is Camilla's first love, as she meets Frank, Luisa's brother. Camilla's separate reactions to her parents are honestly described, and poignantly realized, but then made puzzling as she tries to fit them into the scheme of life in her extended discussions with Frank. The introspective passages are lengthy; while they are obviously sincere they seem more author-imposed than true to character, and the relating of personal problems to abstractions does both less than justice. An earnest, not entirely successful effort, but one that merits selection attention.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1965

ISBN: 0374310319

Page Count: 257

Publisher: T.Y. Crowell

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1965

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences.

MIDNIGHT SUN

From the Twilight series , Vol. 5

A long-awaited Twilight (2005) companion novel told from vampire Edward’s point of view.

Edward Cullen, a 104-year-old vampire (and eternal 17-year-old), finds his world turned upside down when new girl Bella Swan’s addictive scent drives a primal hunger, launching the classic story of vampire-meets-girl, vampire-wants-to-eat-girl, vampire-falls-in-love-with-girl. Edward’s broody inner monologue allows readers to follow every beat of his falling in love. The glacial pace and already familiar plot points mean that instead of surprise twists, characterization reigns. Meyer doesn’t shy away from making Edward far less sympathetic than Bella’s view of him (and his mind reading confirms that Bella’s view of him isn’t universal). Bella benefits from being seen without the curtain of self-deprecation from the original book, as Edward analyzes her every action for clues to her personality. The deeper, richer characterization of the leads comes at the expense of the secondary cast, who (with a few exceptions) alternate primarily along gender lines, between dimwitted buffoons and jealous mean girls. Once the vampiric threat from James’ storyline kicks off, vampire maneuvering and strategizing show off the interplay of the Cullens’ powers in a fresh way. After the action of the climax starts in earnest, though, it leans more into summary and monologue to get to the well-known ending. Aside from the Quileutes and the occasional background character, the cast defaults to White.

A love letter to fans who will forgive (and even revel in) its excesses and indulgences. (Paranormal romance. 12-adult)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-70704-6

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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