TWO SISTERS

Hogan’s characters may be too broadly drawn (one sister so callous, the other so naïve), but she creates a gripping...

In Hogan’s first adult fiction (she has sevenYA titles to her credit), the poisonous relationship between two sisters, and the family dysfunction that grew it, is examined with style and sensitivity.

Muriel had her Sunday planned: She would hole up for hours of binge TV-watching and a tub of popcorn in her Manhattan apartment. But then Pia calls, and Muriel’s day is transformed. As she waits for her older sister’s arrival from Connecticut, Muriel recalls a childhood marked by exclusion and petty cruelties; her older sister was perfect, and their mother, Lidia, made no effort to hide her preference in daughters. Lidia, beautiful and perpetually dissatisfied with her life in Queens, had forced a shotgun marriage on the girls' father, Owen, an engineer who preferred tinkering in the basement to talking with his family. Little has changed in the ensuing years; their parents are remote, and brother Logan has abandoned the family altogether. Pia, with sculpted hair and body, lives in the rarefied air of Westport with a financier husband and accomplished daughter. Muriel is an assistant casting agent with few friends or romantic prospects; she is the moon to Pia’s sun. But when Pia comes for that Sunday visit, it's to confess a secret—she’s dying of cancer and has come to the city to buy a dress to be buried in. Muriel is good at keeping secrets (she never told anyone that Pia nearly killed her on a beach outing or that her mother was having an affair with their priest), and now Pia is asking her to keep this news from Lidia. When the narrative shifts from Muriel's perspective to Pia’s, the malicious older sister is humanized, if not entirely redeemed. Pia’s battle with cancer is vivid and heartbreaking, Muriel’s guilt (for not being lovable) is tragic, though nothing compares to Lidia’s final, scandalous confession.

Hogan’s characters may be too broadly drawn (one sister so callous, the other so naïve), but she creates a gripping narrative of a fractured family.

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-227993-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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