An engaging story of an immigrant’s journey to growth and maturity.

The Inducements of Brazen Lovers Behind the Mask

Seck’s debut novella presents a young woman’s struggle with unrequited love—and her eventual triumph.

“What can be as horrible as loving someone who doesn’t love you back?” asks young Bijou as this story opens. She left the warm, familiar comforts of her home in Guinea, Conakry, West Africa, where her friends and neighbors were like family, and was thrust into the mysterious, complex world of adolescence in the United States. Bijou’s parents enroll her in Washington I.M., a rigorously academic institution with unwritten rules and a rigid social structure. As a result, Bijou is lonely; her bus driver is one of her only friends. However, she soon falls for the good-looking Gracious, a young man who’s fated to break her heart. Her love for him shocks her and she finds herself defenseless against his charms despite his attachment to his girlfriend—the wealthy, beautiful, and arrogant Bee, the popular students’ ringleader. Bee sizes up her competition and sets out to destroy Bijou by accusing her of theft and turning other students against her. But Bijou remains hopeful despite her isolation, and she soon finds reassurance and comfort in Alex, a fellow student whose love and admiration helps heal the emotional wounds that Gracious inflicted upon her. This coming-of-age tale traces the trajectory of a fragile young woman as she becomes stronger and more confident. Bijou’s voice is raw and convincing as she uses the halting English of a recent immigrant. Her story, while familiar, takes on a new edge as she searches for her own identity while also struggling with culture shock. Her tale of rejection and acceptance is also a story of racial tension and the cruelty of the intolerant. The chapters read like stream-of-consciousness pieces from Bijou’s diary in which she compellingly describes her feelings. The portrayal of her process as she learns to respect herself makes this a rewarding, important read for adolescents everywhere.

An engaging story of an immigrant’s journey to growth and maturity.

Pub Date: May 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-1499005226

Page Count: 74

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more