The beginning of an elegant, spirited rebellion saga.


Fan (The Adventures of the Silicon Beeches, 2017, etc.) begins a new YA sci-fi series in which an alien civilization patronizes performing arts prodigies on Earth.

In 2268, 15-year-old Iris Lei plays viola at the Papilio School, near Charlotte, North Carolina. The passionate human musicians, dancers, and acrobats of Papilio are sponsored by telepathic aliens called the Adryil. The highest-ranked students become “Artists” and travel to distant Adrye, where they perform for decades to repay their training debt. Iris’ musician mother, Theia Lei, is one such Artist, but she’s had no contact with her for 11 years. Iris is studying her mother’s profile one night on the Wall of Glory on the quad when alarms sound, and the teen witnesses security bots chasing a boy with amber skin and azure eyes—an Adryil. Before the bots capture him, he presses an oval object into her hand and says, “Don’t let them take it from you.” Later, Iris activates the object, causing its etchings to glow green, but she’s unsure of its function. As she continues to struggle within Papilio’s ranking system, she begins to feel an odd presence. Eventually, the captured Adryil, Dámiul Verik, contacts her—via a screen on the object he gave her; he wants to train her in how to defend herself against telepathic mind control. In this crafty series opener, Fan presents a future in which 21st-century problems have become further entrenched; at one point Iris explains that “there really is no middle. Only the rich and those who are different shades of poor.” Fan’s twist on telepathy is engaging: because the Adryil can share feelings so completely, they make no art of their own. Her insights into the artistic drive are also poignant: “Even if I stood at the edge of the universe with only my viola…I’d play to oblivion,” observes Iris. The story’s second half develops into a space opera, revealing the Adryil’s darkest secrets and showing Iris risking her individuality for love. Ultimately, though, this is a sophisticated commentary on art, society, and how we perceive our own worth.

The beginning of an elegant, spirited rebellion saga.

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-946202-27-7

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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