A poignant romance that explores the complexities of a long-distance relationship.


Personal and professional pressures threaten to undermine a young couple’s attachment in this sequel.

Matthew Campbell and Lilia Bennett-Parker could not be happier. Friends since childhood, the two have watched their relationship blossom into a long-distance romance. Lilia, a cellist, attends graduate school in Boston while Matt lives in Pennsylvania, where his company, Knowledge Portal, is a leader in math and science education software. During a performance in Boston, Lilia catches the eye of Eduardo Santana, an acclaimed pianist and composer. He is writing a score for a new film and approaches Lilia with an offer to audition for the orchestra that will play the music. Lilia is conflicted by the proposal because she will need to move to California. Matt has problems of his own in Pennsylvania. His brother, Paul, a recovering addict, has moved back home, and Matt’s business partner wants to enter the online competitive gaming market. Matt is supportive when Lilia is accepted into the orchestra, but the distance puts a strain on their relationship. As they face professional stress and personal tragedy, and Eduardo’s campaign to seduce Lilia intensifies, they wonder whether their love will survive. Carr’s (The Bennett Women, 2015) novel is fast-paced and satisfying and could be enjoyed as a stand-alone. The author is adept at rendering a vivid portrait of Matt’s and Lilia’s distinctive worlds. Matt is passionate about STEM education while Lilia’s string-instrument talents lead her to California playing alongside the best musicians in the industry. The couple are surrounded by strong supporting characters, including the dashing Eduardo and violinist Mei Li, whose desire to become a mother culminates in a health crisis. Although the dialogue occasionally lapses into exposition (“Anyway, we’ve known each other since we were kids,” says Matt. “Having our grandparents live next door to one another”) and some of the subplots are resolved a little too conveniently, the story is well-developed. Ultimately, Carr demonstrates a knack for creating appealing and nuanced characters.

A poignant romance that explores the complexities of a long-distance relationship.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-973867-94-4

Page Count: 472

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

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Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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

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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

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