A sci-fi look at what humanity has within itself—and what it could still learn.


Gabriel offers a hopeful novel about the future of the human race, with a little alien intervention.

Denver Jenkins is 9 years old when an interstellar craft, crewed by three aliens, crash-lands in Canada—an event that would come to be known as the Visitation. The aliens, which include the gruff Big Louis, the humorous Turnip and the beautiful researcher Dandelion, spend several years researching Earth, watching television and repairing their craft. Soon they’re ready for the next stage in their journey, which was meant to be a simple delivery run. However, Denver, now a talented young hacker, manages to exploit a vulnerability in the ship’s “mission box” and steal precious data. The visitors resolve to get that data back in order to avoid breaking laws and regulations against providing information to less-advanced planets. In the process, they bring the young human onto the ship, where he sees Earth from above and exclaims: “[T]here’s so many people down there living in misery. There are machines on this ship that could abolish poverty, help grow enough food, control the environment, and make enough wealth for everybody….I can’t understand why you don’t seem to want to help?” Denver’s perspective changes everything; soon, Dandelion discovers that she can help the planet by using psychic power, and so she brings children with psychic talent aboard the ship. What these children do will change the course of Earth’s history. Throughout this book, the author makes his alien characters delightfully human, from Turnip’s obsession with television, which seems to give him an American accent, to Dandelion’s immense compassion (and remarkable wardrobe). He approaches his sci-fi tale with humor and empathy, and he shows a keen eye for the behavior of children. Although Denver and his alien friends employ jarring jargon at times, the plot is strong enough to support the technological terms and scientific anomalies. Gabriel offers humorous antics as well, as when Turnip uses a holographic device to masquerade as Denver—to disastrous effect. The overall message, however, remains clear: His story’s humans are refreshingly good-hearted and need only a little guidance to help make their planet better. Overall, the book is a pleasant read and features an uplifting conclusion that’s appropriate for children and optimistic adults.

A sci-fi look at what humanity has within itself—and what it could still learn.

Pub Date: July 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-1481799157

Page Count: 234

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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