A gripping, lyrical, and ambitious dystopian novel.



A sci-fi debut tells the story of an autistic teen’s struggles to survive her institutionalization.

In a not-so-distant future when the United States has broken into autonomous regions and disabled people have lost their civil rights, 15-year-old Sophia “Scope” Archer is confined to the Thunderbird Mountain “development center” for troubled teens in “the drilled-out, logging-stripped, mining-gouged backcountry of Wyandot County.” Scope is a high-functioning autistic teen, her condition marked by the blue puzzle-piece tattoo on her wrist that dictates how the authorities treat her. At Thunderbird Mountain she meets Chill Dark, a gay prostitute marked with the sociopath tattoo, who possesses a keen interest in post-colonial theory and turns out to be a crack shot with a firearm. A legal adult, Chill no longer has to live at Thunderbird, though he visits Scope and his half sister Angela, smuggling in supplies. Scope must find patrons on the inside as well, navigating the corrupt and sexually violent guards on the one hand and the dehumanizing medical treatments on the other. Scope finds a way to use her domineering sexuality to her advantage, but when the opportunity arises to exploit Chill’s criminal connections to escape her prison, she will risk everything for a chance to regain the freedom that was stolen from her. DePackh’s prose is dense and stylish, demonstrating an eye for both the grittiness of her setting and the sensuality that her characters manage to find within it: “Where he looked like he ate once every day or two if he remembered, she wore her appetites on her thick, strong body like the firm curvature of willful craving.” Scope is a character of immense depth and originality. There are few protagonists in sci-fi—or literature in general—that present an autistic perspective with such specificity and pathos. The explorations of ableism and sexuality in a claustrophobic cyberpunk setting make this unlike anything most readers will have encountered before. Though the universe dePackh creates is vast (and terrifyingly believable), this series opener is focused and highly intimate. Readers should welcome the next installments.

A gripping, lyrical, and ambitious dystopian novel.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Reclamation Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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