An original and thoughtful entry in the contemporary romance genre.



A visit to a resort turns into a life-changing experience for an entrepreneur and the woman he loves in this novel.

All Nakia Noble wants during her vacation is peace and quiet, but her sister, Kirby, thinks she should find a man and have fun. Nakia catches the eye of Caleb Jones, a successful entrepreneur and outdoorsman. Their connection is instant, and they spend a passionate evening together. Caleb wants to turn their mutual attraction into a romance. While Nakia is drawn to him, she is reluctant to pursue a relationship because he is white and she is African-American. She believes it is easier to marry someone who “sees the world the way you do.” Several weeks later, he visits her family’s resort and discovers their link is still intense. While exploring a cave, Nakia and Caleb fall asleep and wake up in a country called Acirema in an alternative universe. In Acirema, Nakia is part of a special police unit tasked with rounding up weeds, or the oppressed. Caleb is an integral part of the Resistance. As they try to find a way back to their reality, they develop an unshakeable bond, one that is tested as they are pursued by a dangerous enemy. This latest novel from Robinson (OCAAT, 2017, etc.) is an ambitious combination of romance and speculative fiction bolstered by dynamic characters, well-drawn settings, and a propulsive narrative. Nakia and Caleb are strong protagonists whose relationship anchors the story. The author establishes their physical connection in the opening chapters through playful, flirtatious dialogue and scenes that crackle with erotic tension. Nakia’s views on race and relationships inform her vision of her ideal partner, and her reluctance to pursue a romance with Caleb is sensitively handled. They are surrounded by a well-developed cast of supporting characters, including Nakia’s eccentric Uncle Wallace and Kirby. Robinson is particularly adept at creating vivid settings. The contrast between the tranquility of Nakia’s family’s resort and the grim, ravaged Acirema is striking, and the two lovers’ journey is gripping and suspenseful.

An original and thoughtful entry in the contemporary romance genre.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9964389-7-1

Page Count: 340

Publisher: ARTwo Publishers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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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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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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