Instead, the truth becomes a canvas for a beautiful still-life portrait—and a masterpiece at that.

Roy’s mesmerizing debut explores the inner lives of a family of Indian immigrants who can never reveal their secrets.

Romola Mitra doesn’t tell her new husband, Avinash, what she found in a letter addressed to him. It’s too late for that—she’s already left Calcutta for the small Illinois town where Avinash is finishing his Ph.D. Romola now bottles a painful secret that seems destined to explode. Instead, it fizzles. Flashbacks to Romola’s hopeful youth in India contrast with quiet scenes of domesticity with Avinash and their son, Amit, all three forming a close-knit family without knowing each other at all. Avinash, whose first crush was on his male barber, has resorted to meeting men in anonymous chat rooms and gay clubs, while his wife daydreams about the film star she might have married had her parents approved. Amit grows up and moves to San Francisco without ever knowing the sacrifices his parents made. In refusing to buck the system, they challenge the very notion of freedom. In Calcutta, the Mitra family had servants; in the middle of America, Romola is confined to her box of an apartment with no car and not quite enough English to fully express herself. She and her extended family find freedom in transcendent moments. Forbidden to eat sweets, Amit’s great-grandmother hides jars of mango chutney under her mattress to have when she’s bedridden. Her recipe—and the tastes and smells it produces—follows Amit all the way to San Francisco years after she dies. Romola’s adventures are the most surreal, including a harrowing encounter with a McDonald’s cashier, a tussle with a bodyguard at a funeral and a singalong with a drag queen named Bang la Dish. For Avinash, what doesn’t happen is almost as important as what does: At times, his indiscretion leads him to heartache or danger, but it doesn’t ruin his life.

Instead, the truth becomes a canvas for a beautiful still-life portrait—and a masterpiece at that.

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62040-898-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014


Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018


With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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