by Ricardo Alexanders ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 28, 2018
An imaginative, if rather shallow, rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.
Alexanders (The Last Resistance: Dragon Tomb, 2017) tells the story of a teenager who wakes up in an alternate universe and becomes a rock star in this YA novel.
Sixteen-year-old American John Palmieri feels invisible at his Brooklyn, New York, high school—well, except when he’s getting bullied. Then he gets hit by a bus and is suddenly magically transported to 1958 India, where he’s doted upon by servants who call him “Raj Babu.” After getting over the initial shock, he realizes he isn’t too upset about the change of scenery: “Walking onto the balcony, John saw a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a fleet of vintage cars neatly parked to the side of the lawn….By now, he knew his life in Brooklyn was not coming back, yet he felt no real sadness.” At first, “Raj” is happy to smoke weed, have sex, and make predictions about the future, soon earning the affectionate nickname “Babaji” from friends and admirers. When this gets boring, Raj decides to start a band. They’re called the Beetos and play songs with names like “Yesterday” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which “Raj” claims to have written. He forsakes his arranged marriage to pursue the girl of his dreams, then sets out to conquer the world while emulating John Lennon (who, of course, no one in this world has yet heard of). Things go pretty great for a time, but then Raj starts to run into some of the same problems that the real Lennon encountered—and others that he never had to contend with. Alexanders’ prose is smooth, although his attempts to render the Indian accent come off as more than a little clumsy: “John attempted an Indian accent this time. ‘I’am taa’king like I aa’lways do,’ he said, shaking his head like a bobblehead.” The overall concept is certainly promising, and the author delivers some details that Beatles fans are likely to appreciate. He also makes a number of surprising, if not always satisfying, decisions regarding the plot; the ending, for instance, essentially negates all that’s come before it.An imaginative, if rather shallow, rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.
Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2018
Page Count: 334
Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Review Posted Online: April 20, 2018
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by J.D. Salinger ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 15, 1951
A strict report, worthy of sympathy.
A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.
"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….A strict report, worthy of sympathy.
Pub Date: June 15, 1951
Page Count: -
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951
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