High school as it should have been.




A teenaged actor’s quest for Juilliard tuition and a steady girlfriend—or boyfriend, whatever.

Insouciantly overcoming the handicap of being described as “the gay Dave Barry,” columnist Acito proves himself worthy of whatever praise people may want to throw his way with his first novel. His kid-with-promise is high school senior Edward Zanni, a somewhat pudgy and extremely theatrical lad from Wallingford, New Jersey, a place he can’t stand: “I find the term ‘bedroom community’ sort of sexy,” he comments, “but it probably just means that not much else happens in Wallingford beyond sleeping.” Edward dreams of escaping to Juilliard, after which he can become a famous actor and pointedly forget to mention certain people in his Oscar acceptance speech. Because of a near-nervous breakdown during his Juilliard audition, interpreted as incredible acting by the staff, Edward actually gets in; the only problem is that his fascist stepmonster has convinced his dad not to pay for college, meaning he’s got to come up with, oh, about $10,000—and that’s in 1983 dollars. Fortunately for Edward, he’s got a mélange of misfit friends who are pretty devoted to him and have a knack for lies, theft, and blackmail, none of which they hesitate to use on Edward’s behalf. The actual story of gathering money for the tuition only really starts up at the book’s halfway point; until then Acito is mostly just hanging around (quite enjoyably) inside Edward’s pinball-machine head, limning the absurdities of early ’80s suburban life, and having a lot of fun with Edward’s bisexual confusion. (He’s attracted to both his girlfriend and the football player that she’s not so secretly smitten with.) This approach has the added advantage of keeping the attention off the admittedly silly plot and more on Acito’s memorable, warmly described characters. The outsider edge to the proceedings here never devolves into snobbishness and keeps the free-form story humming hilariously along.

High school as it should have been.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2004

ISBN: 0-7679-1841-X

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2004

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


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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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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