A charming, if uneven, coming-of-age tale.


A 12-year-old girl experiences a season of change and hope during the winter of 1962 in this middle-grade novel.

Kate Dunn, the Irish-American daughter of a police officer, lives in a comfortable apartment in Manhattan’s Washington Heights with her parents, older brother Rory, and younger brother Danny and attends the local Catholic school. Her family expects that she will eventually become a nurse or a flight attendant, but the highly intelligent Kate refuses to accept limitations on her ambitions. She regularly wins awards at her school for academic excellence, and she received a full scholarship to the Sacred Heart of Mary Academy. When she’s not spending time with her best friend, Mary Garvey, she pores over a well-worn copy of Black’s Law Dictionary. As the Christmas season approaches, she looks forward to preparing for high school; however, the winter of 1962 ends up being anything but typical for Kate. The region endures unusually frigid weather, dubbed “The Freeze” by local residents. As she waits for the snow predicted by her eccentric neighbor Miss H. Wellington Grimes, her parents cope with problems of their own: Her father faces pressures in his new assignment in the narcotics squad while also dealing with guilt over his actions during World War II, and her mother is secretly saving money. As Christmas approaches, Kate learns a secret that threatens to alter her plans for the future. DeBoer’s debut is a sensitively crafted portrait of a young girl growing up at a pivotal time for women in America. Kate is a dynamic protagonist who has big plans for her future and refuses to let anyone tell her what she can achieve, and the tension between her ambitions and society’s expectations informs her relationships with her father, who tells her that “Girls become nurses,” and Mary, who plans to forgo college in favor of secretarial school. The Washington Heights setting is a significant part of the narrative, and the author brings it to life with vivid descriptions of the community and nuanced supporting characters. Most of the action takes place in Kate’s apartment building or in the streets of the surrounding neighborhood. The reader’s guide to life in the building is Flann McFarland, its superintendent, who regularly regales the children with fantastic stories of a kingdom in Ireland called “Shiloh.” Flann’s own tale of heartbreak is a poignant one. Another memorable resident is the aforementioned Miss Grimes, a woman who spent a colorful childhood in a traveling circus. That said, the novel would have benefited from sharper editing. At times, the prose is lyrical, particularly during a speech from Miss Grimes, in which she tells the protagonist, “Your life will at times, feel very much like a circus, Kate. The acts will come and go.” However, there are occasional misspellings of notable real-life people and places.

A charming, if uneven, coming-of-age tale.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-9737-7028-2

Page Count: 202

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 8, 2018

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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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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