A fine debut, written with style and heart.



Love and second chances sprout like fragile desert wildflowers in this winsome romance.

With her husband in a coma for six years now, Melanie Greyson figures it’s time to start over, so she packs up and moves to the northern Arizona village of Buena Suerte to take a teaching job. Her three kids—especially 17-year-old daughter K.C, dragged away from her friends and trumpet lessons during her senior year—are not amused when they see the tiny burg and the flyblown trailer in which they’ll be living. The Greysons’ malaise lifts, though, when Jesse Cockran, the school’s new music teacher, complete with pony tail, piercing blue eyes, well-muscled frame and haunting trumpet technique, roars up on his Harley and moves in across the street. Soon Jesse is flirting up a storm with Melanie and inspiring K.C., who finds her dreamboat in football captain Cooke Nasby, a soulful if sometimes exasperating boy from the Apache reservation. As Melanie and K.C. plunge into their sometimes tender, sometimes testy romances—the one young and passionate, the other mature and much more passionate—readers will settle happily in with their engaging story, which the author tells with a good feel for the tingling excitement, awkward hesitancies and sudden abandon of new love. Alas, complications both external and internal threaten their bliss: K.C. and Cooke confront the minefield of sex, Jesse battles a hostile school board president and a junkie, harridan ex-wife, and Melanie finds herself torn between her raging attraction to Jesse and her loyalty to her husband—a dilemma made more agonizing by family pressure to pull the plug. In her first novel, Hinton strikes a nice balance between realism and melodrama. She writes a supple prose and populates her small but by no means insignificant town with vivid characters possessing rich, complex emotional lives. We can’t help rooting for Melanie and K.C. as they fight their way through the tug-of-war between desire and responsibility.

A fine debut, written with style and heart.

Pub Date: July 30, 2007

ISBN: 978-1412098410

Page Count: 442

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.


Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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