An imaginative, if rather shallow, rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.

BOLLYWOOD INVASION

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

ISBN: 978-1-981590-19-3

Page Count: 334

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 15

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • National Book Award Finalist

A LITTLE LIFE

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. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

Did you like this book?

more