Sharp writing, a flair for dialogue and a big, twisting imagination.

TIME'S TWISTED ARROW

BOOK ONE OF THE CHRONOS FILES

A young girl aims to change her fate and the lives of everyone around her in Walker’s time-bending debut novel.

Like most teenage girls, Kate Pierce-Keller is struggling with a lot of changes in her life. Her parents are divorced, she’s trying to fit into a new school, and her grandmother has suddenly popped back into her life. As if things aren’t confusing enough, Kate finds herself strangely attracted to the glowing medallion her grandmother flashes in front of her. That blue light turns out to be the start of a grand adventure that takes Kate across multiple lives and eras as she tries to piece together how an ancient wrong changed her fate. Kate’s estranged grandmother, it’s revealed, is a time traveler, and Kate possesses the same power. A wrong jump put her grandmother in the path of a killer, creating a timeline in which Kate and her whole family never existed. Readers are swept along with Kate as she struggles to understand the past, future and present. Conversations effortlessly flow, even though a few characters can be long-winded, and descriptions strike a satisfying balance: rich with evocative imagery but not overburdened by details. Well-depicted young Kate is full of questions, assumptions and emotions. Her family may be flawed, yet she’s committed to setting the past right to ensure their future. The plot moves along rapidly, taking Kate into situations that are both fantastic and believable. Walker indicates that this is only the first book in a series; teens interested in fantasy, sci-fi or good old-fashioned romance will be eager to find out what happens next to Kate as she travels through her first love, adolescence and time.

Sharp writing, a flair for dialogue and a big, twisting imagination.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0988351103

Page Count: 351

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2013

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

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A LITTLE LIFE

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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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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