Burke crafts a street-smart tale of the possibilities and temptations of growing up. There is power in his words, and the...

TEAM SEVEN

A wonderful debut novel that moves with the rhythm of the streets.

Andre Battel’s Jamaican grandfather calls him “champion,” after the winner of a TV show they watch every morning over breakfast. Pa-Paw teaches him to cook eggs and tries to keep him on the level. That's a tough goal for a 10-year-old whose father smokes weed to fuel his fantasies of being a reggae drummer. The streets of Milton, Mass., come alive in these pages, thumping with music and the smell of burning blunts. Andre dribbles through the crowds on the corners and past the girls showing their stuff at school, on his way up the basketball ladder as a winner, a champion. But there's much that's beyond his control. His father disappears for months at a time. School becomes only a measure of his powerlessness as he questions authority and its consequences. He starts running errands for Team Seven, the local pot-selling gang he joins at age 11, making the “munchies run” for the older guys. He earns money for these errands and learns what is cool and what is not in a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone’s business. Andre narrates most of the book in the first person, and as he ages, the rhythm of his speech gains steam and he speaks more and more the street code of Team Seven. He graduates to dealing drugs and smoking his product for a continuous buzz. Burke’s words meld with Andre’s progression into hell until "the dark cloud over my head exploded, it was like the perfect storm and felt like watching a nurse jab a needle into my arm.” The deluge is a shooting that can make or break this young man’s life.

Burke crafts a street-smart tale of the possibilities and temptations of growing up. There is power in his words, and the tale moves like a locomotive right to the end.

Pub Date: April 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-53779-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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