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Another giddy ride, with no end in sight.

Plucky über-consumer Rebecca Brandon has her work cut out for her as mum to tiny terror Minnie.

With a job she loves (personal shopper, natch), happy marriage and an adorable little daughter, Becky Brandon certainly seems to have it all. Sure, two-year-old Minnie is a bit of a handful. Her spirited behavior gets them banned from various shopping malls. And Becky’s PR whiz hubby Luke might be a tad overworked and distracted. But things are generally good, until the global financial crisis has to come along and really put a damper on Becky’s lifestyle. So as a money-saving concession to her husband, she agrees to stop shopping until she has worn everything in her wardrobe at least three times. Torture! She also throws herself into a new project—planning an over-the-top surprise birthday party for Luke. With visions of fire-eaters, jugglers and a live band, it is clear that Becky’s desires don’t mesh with financial reality. But when has that ever stopped her? She enlists Luke’s trusted assistant Bonnie into her schemes, and tries to “barter” party supplies for slightly used Marc Jacobs bags. Meanwhile, she sees an opportunity at work and starts to offer a “discreet” shopping service for her wealthy clients, where she disguises their purchases in computer paper boxes. It is a big hit, although she neglects to tell her bosses about the subterfuge. And then Luke’s estranged mother, the imperious (and fabulously rich) Elinor, reappears and wants to have a relationship with her granddaughter. The two meet, but well-meaning Becky cannot tell Luke about this, adding to all the many things she is keeping from him. But he has a few secrets as well, and getting him to his own party will take all of Becky’s considerable skills. Chock-full of the kind of sitcom shenanigans Kinsella’s fans expect, this latest in the series (Shopaholic & Baby, 2007, etc.) keeps the silly plot moving along. A little more growth from her iconic heroine, though, might have won over new readers as well.

Another giddy ride, with no end in sight.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-385-34204-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Dial Press

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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