An engaging and humorous historical approach to contemporary racism.


In this novel, two medieval scholars are asked to spy on their professor—who may have nefarious ties to a White supremacist group.

When Molly Isaacson first talks to Quinton Quick—they are both studying medieval history at Yale—the exchange doesn’t go so well. Molly unabashedly expresses her astonishment over Quinton’s race: “You’re a medievalist? But you’re Black!” Despite the rocky start, they quickly become good friends, both students under the intellectually impressive and controversial professor Abe Kantorowicz, who has garnered a reputation for breaking bread with Nazis and fascists, if only to criticize them. Molly and Quinton are suddenly approached by a humorously mysterious figure—despite the gravity of the story’s themes, Adamo often shoots for lightsome, if glib, comedy—FBI agent Nathaniel Mapp. With a “conspiratorial air,” Mapp asks the two students to surveil Kantorowicz, who he believes is working furtively with a White supremacist group. The author makes it tantalizingly unclear if Mapp’s suspicions are correct. Shortly after, Kantorowicz asks Molly and Quinton to assist him with an “archaeological experiment” to find a symbol that replaces the swastika as a unifying symbol of bigoted groups, a supposedly academic exercise in historical lucidity. Adamo intelligently combines the topical and the esoteric—at the heart of the novel is the alt-right’s appropriation of medieval symbols to brand their hateful cause. But this virtue doubles as a vice—the book flirts with an excessive academicism. Part of it reads like a classroom lecture while other sections are in fact precisely that. In addition, the author can’t resist drawing some facile and didactic conclusions about the nature of racism. Nevertheless, the story is refreshingly eccentric, and while it sometimes seems in danger of taking itself too seriously, the author’s comic impulses chasten that urge. This is an engrossing tale, a delightfully peculiar blend of intellectual and criminal investigation.

An engaging and humorous historical approach to contemporary racism.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: 311

Publisher: Split Infinitive Books

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2022

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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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