Next book

THE HOLY DAYS OF GREGORIO PASOS

A captivating, complicated take on coming-of-age.

This tender debut novel follows Gregorio Pasos, a 21-year-old Colombian American who’s prone to injury.

The novel opens just after his third hospitalizing soccer injury, which forces him to spend a month in recovery. During that time, he sleeps, dreams, and narrates a life of many different injuries as an immigrant. As the child of divorced parents and of both Colombia and the United States, Gregorio grew up with a constant feeling of being divided. Rather than situate Gregorio’s coming-of-age on either continent, the novel draws parallels between Colombia's violent history and the United States under Trump’s presidency. These parallels are written in impactful prose that feels weighted with grief. Early on, Gregorio laments “how easy it was to die in Colombia and how little one could do about it. On the other hand, how strange it was to live in a town where people’s biggest threats seemed to be themselves.” In spite of its constant sense of dread, of waiting for another bomb or gun to go off, the novel is surprisingly tender and warm. Through each of his injuries, Gregorio develops close relationships with his uncle Nico, who has cancer; Magdalena, his landlady, who dies shortly after the 2016 election, and others. Gregorio is haunted by the past, but the author shows that ghosts aren’t scary when a person is enmeshed in their community. Emboldened by the lessons of the past and present, Gregorio develops a more confident voice. Written in a series of short, vivid chapters, this is an accessible and smooth read; the first-person voice hardly changes tone and style, even in chapters narrated by characters other than Gregorio. Restrepo Montoya walks a fine line between scathing and maudlin and invites readers to listen in on the conversations that happen between families in times of conflict.

A captivating, complicated take on coming-of-age.

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781953387332

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Two Dollar Radio

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 176


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 176


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

SWAN SONG

Though Hilderbrand threatens to kill all our darlings with this last laugh, her acknowledgments say it’s just “for now.”

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 17


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A stranger comes to town, and a beloved storyteller plays this creative-writing standby for all it’s worth.

Hilderbrand fans, a vast and devoted legion, will remember Blond Sharon, the notorious island gossip. In what is purportedly the last of the Nantucket novels, Blond Sharon decides to pursue her lifelong dream of fiction writing. In the collective opinion of the island—aka the “cobblestone telegraph”—she’s qualified. “Well, we think, she’s certainly demonstrated her keen interest in other people’s stories, the seedier and more salacious, the better.” Blond Sharon’s first assignment in her online creative writing class is to create a two-person character study, and Hilderbrand has her write up the two who arrive on the ferry in an opening scene of the book, using the same descriptors Hilderbrand has. Amusingly, the class is totally unimpressed. “‘I found it predictable,’ Willow said. ‘Like maybe Sharon used ChatGPT with the prompt “Write a character study about two women getting off the ferry, one prep and one punk.”’” Blond Sharon abandons these characters, but Hilderbrand thankfully does not. They are Kacy Kapenash, daughter of retiring police chief Ed Kapenash (the other swan song referred to by the title), and her new friend Coco Coyle, who has given up her bartending job in the Virgin Islands to become a “personal concierge” for the other strangers-who-have-come-to-town. These are the Richardsons, Bull and Leslee, a wild and wealthy couple who have purchased a $22 million beachfront property and plan to take Nantucket by storm. As the book opens, their house has burned down during an end-of-summer party on their yacht, and Coco is missing, feared both responsible for the fire and dead. Though it’s the last weekend of his tenure, Chief Ed refuses to let the incoming chief, Zara Washington, take this one over. The investigation goes forward in parallel with a review of the summer’s intrigues, love affairs, and festivities. Whatever else you can say about Leslee Richardson, she knows how to throw a party, and Hilderbrand is just the writer to design her invitations, menus, themes, playlists, and outfits. And that hot tub!

Though Hilderbrand threatens to kill all our darlings with this last laugh, her acknowledgments say it’s just “for now.”

Pub Date: June 11, 2024

ISBN: 9780316258876

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

Close Quickview