Next book

The Habitant

A NOVEL

From the The Habitants series , Vol. 1

Not a typical ghost story but a young woman learning about love, camaraderie, and self-identity —and possibly a spirit.

A college freshman’s job at the campus library comes with new eccentric friends, creepy strangers, and perhaps a ghost in this debut supernatural tale.

With her mom suddenly unemployed, University of Oklahoma student Sarah Felton offers to get a position to help out with expenses. She applies at the library, where the circulation supervisor, impressed by her impromptu interview, hires her. It’s a rough start; her introduction to patron Dr. Patty Nakamura, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, consists of the woman declaring Sarah’s Pakistani co-worker Lubna a terrorist. But soon Sarah forms friendships with Lubna and student security guard Stanley and something a little more than friendship outside the library with nerdy but winsome Adam. Stanley is particularly unusual, a Native American descendent of shamans who claims he can see auras and ghosts— and that spirits sometimes roam the library. That may include Bernie, a woman evidently taking up residence there. It seems she’s something other than human, floating around the stacks and invisible to everyone, or at least most people. Bernie finds a connection to Sarah and may become what Stanley would call a spirit guide. Unable to speak with words, Bernie tries to communicate with Sarah through feelings. She hopes to warn the freshman about a guy Bernie’s dubbed TC, for The Creep, with a penchant for tampering with elevators and a sinister plan in the works. The novel is a drama first, giving a wide berth to genre conventions. The author, for example, smartly keeps Bernie ambiguous; Sarah proposes that the woman could be an alien, while Bernie herself isn’t sure—there’s no inkling of any sort of past. Sarah, meanwhile, is wholly engaging simply as a 19-year-old student. She hasn’t quite recovered from her dad’s death from lymphoma and worries about her blossoming romance with Adam after witnessing roommate Jennifer’s failed relationship. Readers anticipating spookiness may be dispirited: Bernie’s unequivocally amiable, TC’s unnerving but not outright scary, and Sarah and pals discuss but never investigate spirits. Sarah’s open-mindedness and endless curiosity, however, make her a perfect guide for readers into a world beyond tangible perception—even if it’s largely speculative.

Not a typical ghost story but a young woman learning about love, camaraderie, and self-identity —and possibly a spirit.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9969514-0-1

Page Count: 248

Publisher: PWM Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2016

Categories:

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 39


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

Next book

A LITTLE LIFE

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 39


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

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

Categories:
Next book

THE RUMOR

Once again, Hilderbrand displays her gift for making us care most about her least likable characters.

Hilderbrand’s latest cautionary tale exposes the toxic—and hilarious—impact of gossip on even the most sophisticated of islands.

Eddie and Grace Pancik are known for their beautiful Nantucket home and grounds, financed with the profits from Eddie’s thriving real estate company (thriving before the crash of 2008, that is). Grace raises pedigreed hens and, with the help of hunky landscape architect Benton Coe, has achieved a lush paradise of fowl-friendly foliage. The Panciks’ teenage girls, Allegra and Hope, suffer invidious comparisons of their looks and sex appeal, although they're identical twins. The Panciks’ friends the Llewellyns (Madeline, a blocked novelist, and her airline-pilot husband, Trevor) invested $50,000, the lion’s share of Madeline’s last advance, in Eddie’s latest development. But Madeline, hard-pressed to come up with catalog copy, much less a new novel, is living in increasingly straightened circumstances, at least by Nantucket standards: she can only afford $2,000 per month on the apartment she rents in desperate hope that “a room of her own” will prime the creative pump. Construction on Eddie’s spec houses has stalled, thanks to the aforementioned crash. Grace, who has been nursing a crush on Benton for some time, gives in and a torrid affair ensues, which she ill-advisedly confides to Madeline after too many glasses of Screaming Eagle. With her agent and publisher dropping dire hints about clawing back her advance and Eddie “temporarily” unable to return the 50K, what’s a writer to do but to appropriate Grace’s adultery as fictional fodder? When Eddie is seen entering her apartment (to ask why she rented from a rival realtor), rumors spread about him and Madeline, and after the rival realtor sneaks a look at Madeline’s rough draft (which New York is hotly anticipating as “the Playboy Channel meets HGTV”), the island threatens to implode with prurient snark. No one is spared, not even Hilderbrand herself, “that other Nantucket novelist,” nor this magazine, “the notoriously cranky Kirkus.”

Once again, Hilderbrand displays her gift for making us care most about her least likable characters.

Pub Date: June 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-33452-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

Categories:
Close Quickview