Rich girl and poor boy forge a believable relationship.

SECRETS

A young woman tries to break away from her mean-girl past and controlling father in this novel.

Diana Rainville first appeared to readers as a minor character in Caviglia’s (Masks, 2011) previous book, best friend of Rebecca Jacobs, who finally confronted her about her selfish, boyfriend-stealing ways. Now 22, Diana has no friends left, although she’s lately begun to develop a conscience and a wish to gain independence from her wealthy, domineering father, Mathieu, 52. Freedom, though, proves difficult when Mat sabotages her job search, ensuring she’ll have to live at home and work for him at Montreal’s Rainville Digital Media. While shooting video footage for a client, a sports store expanding its inventory to skateboards, Diana runs into high school acquaintance Ron Pearl, once known for his piercings. Now he sports only one and has become taller and more manly. When not skateboarding, Ron drives a taxi to support his mother, who is dying of cancer in a hospice. Despite their differences, he and Diana are cautiously attracted to each other, and they have parental abandonment in common: Ron’s father took off when his mother was diagnosed, and Diana’s mother left when she was small. (Arianne Deschamps has actually been writing letters to her daughter for years, a secret shared between Mat and Diana’s older brother.) When Ron seemingly leaves Diana in the lurch, she’s tempted to flee to her father, who hates the guy, for support—but it’s time for family secrets to come to light. Caviglia creates three-dimensional characters who are realistically mixed up, and the reasons for parental desertion are complex. But not all of the book’s psychology is well-observed; hoarding—Ron’s affliction—is a serious disorder, not one easily solved with a good shot of determination. The tale is well-paced, but the plot copycats Masks, which also features a young woman whose chief conflict is with an angry, dictating father, who also tries to make her date the man of his choice. Since the characters don’t come from cultural backgrounds that would help explain this pattern, the conflict is a little unconvincing, and doubly so for this second outing.

Rich girl and poor boy forge a believable relationship. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 176

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2017

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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