A short, engrossing novel that captures the essence of obsessive fandom.


An accusation against her favorite J-pop idol upends an unstable teen’s world.

Akari, a high school junior in Japan, wakes up one morning to the dreadful rumor that Masaki Ueno has assaulted a female fan. She is devastated: To her, Masaki is not simply a member of the popular group Maza Maza, he is her oshi, in whom she finds meaning and around whom she organizes her life. Akari has always had difficulty with her schoolwork, her family situation is tense, and she gets easily overwhelmed by the responsibilities of her job at a restaurant. When it comes to Masaki, however, she is dedicated and organized: She copies down every word he utters in public in binders, interacts with other superfans through her popular blog, and spends most of her earnings on band merch and memorabilia. Other people ridicule Akari’s dedication to this one-sided relationship, but she insists that she doesn’t see anything wrong with it because she doesn’t expect anything in return. Akari is content to devote herself to Masaki from a distance, wanting to understand him fully and “to see the world through his eyes.” As the assault threatens Masaki’s future in the band and as a celebrity, Akari becomes further unmoored; she feels as though her future and well-being are inextricably tied to Masaki’s own: “I need to give him everything, I thought. It's all I have. It was my cross to bear. Believing in him was how I lived.” Akari’s obsession is fatalistic and intense, and Usami’s prose (translated by Yoneda) renders it and the hold it has on her tenuous life ably and affectingly. While the intensity of the fandom and what it entails may seem outlandish to some, it will especially resonate with readers familiar with real-life superfandoms such as One Direction's at the height of its fame, down to details such as sought-after exclusive merch and hateful online comments sections.

A short, engrossing novel that captures the essence of obsessive fandom.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-321328-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: HarperVia

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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