Hornby is as charming as ever in this nimble, optimistic take on the social novel.


Love in the time of Brexit: A 42-year-old white schoolteacher falls for the 22-year-old black kid behind the counter at the butcher shop.

“It was a time when everyone was vowing never to forgive people. Politicians were never going to be forgiven for what they had done, friends and family were never going to be forgiven for the way they had voted, for what they had said, maybe even for what they thought. Most of the time, people were not being forgiven for being themselves.…And could you only love someone who thought the same way as you, or were there other bridges to be built further up the river?” Hornby’s latest focuses on an interracial, intergenerational relationship that begins a few months before the Brexit vote in 2016 and continues through the U.S.'s own bummer election, with a final chapter skipping ahead two years. Finally separated from the atrocious and not-quite-yet-recovered alcoholic she married, Lucy is ready to brave the dating pool and asks the young man who wraps up her roasts whether he knows anyone who might babysit. Her sons, devoted soccer players, are 10 and 8. Joseph is already babysitting for another family as well as coaching soccer, working at the public rec center, and DJ-ing to make ends meet—“a portfolio,” as an acquaintance encouragingly describes it—while still living at home with his mum. He takes the job, and when Lucy’s first couple of setups fizzle, the two give in to their urges. As smoothly as they fit together when it’s just the two of them (they think they’re hiding it from the boys), there’s friction galore once they leave the house. The race thing, the age thing, and then there’s Brexit. Everyone Lucy knows is voting "stay" while Joseph’s dad, who works construction, is voting "leave." The guy who owns the butcher shop wants to put up whichever poster will be best for business, and most of Joseph’s friends can’t be bothered to care. The fans Hornby has won with his comely backlist—High Fidelity (1995), About A Boy (1998), How To Be Good (2001), etc.—might not change their favorite but they won’t be disappointed.

Hornby is as charming as ever in this nimble, optimistic take on the social novel.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-19138-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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