A smart, rhythmic, and unflinching relationship tale with a strong cast.


In this novel, a trio of female friends face rising costs and the challenges of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in mid-1990s New York City.

New York is expensive. Rent prices soar and groceries become hard to come by for three 30-something pals and their partners. The setting of the intriguing misadventures of Allie Squerciati, Rihanna Strauss, and Natia Stojanovich feels real and lived-in. Some characters share an apartment divided by a measly curtain, and others trade counterfeit money to help get through financial hardship. Yet this New York is sexy and exciting nonetheless. These heroes are plucky and entertaining. There’s Allie—this ensemble’s lead—whose narrative jump-starts the story when her boyfriend dies of a drug overdose. Her tale picks up steam as she learns to cope with her tragic loss and finds herself in the company of a new man: the energetic, chaotic rocker Izaak Sawicki, aka Pest. Allie and Pest’s relationship is messy, complicated, and compulsively readable, with a soundtrack of heavy metal and noisy punk music. At one point, Pest gives Allie a rundown of his rap sheet (“Assaulting a police officer, armed robbery…ummm, I think that’s it”), to which she confesses that she has “a thing for rabid dogs.” Much like Allie, who falls for Pest—despite his stints in juvie and jail—D’Amato extends an enormous amount of empathy to the troubled musician. Pest’s flashbacks, which often begin the chapters about this group of friends, are among the most harrowing. Meanwhile, Rihanna has a knotty, borderline toxic relationship with Dylan Gillespie, who owns a ferryboat that he rents out for parties. And Natia seems absolutely smitten—against the wills of her conservative parents—with musician Danny Benton. These intersecting narratives nicely complement one another, offering intriguing reflections on what is happening in the lives of other characters. All of this is buoyed by the author’s clear prose and dry humor—highlights of which include an excellent use of lists at the beginning of the story. Like the music that captures the attention of the characters, D’Amato’s novel is a catchy anthem of friendship and the city.

A smart, rhythmic, and unflinching relationship tale with a strong cast.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63988-290-8

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 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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