Chilly and pretentious fictionalizing of a devastating disease.

STATE OF HAPPINESS

A cartographer and big-selling author charts the progress of her cancer.

Despite her babyish first name, Cindy Frier is no giddy scribbler of contemporary fluff. What’s in a name, anyway? In British author Duffy’s latest (Wavewalker, 1996, etc.), the answer is everything. Cindy wrote her thesis on the hidden meaning of maps and mapmaking. (For confused readers, the forced connection here is place names.) Then she turned it into an acclaimed book with the pretentious and oddly punctuated title Dis-Location—the function of space over time: Naming as Generation. (Should anyone doubt the worth of this unlikely bestseller, arcane quotes from it preface each chapter.) Apparently a “hungry public” just can’t get enough of the hitherto-unplumbed subject of mapmaking metaphysics, or of Cindy’s incredible ability to combine “measured truths with potential magic.” Other fun facts about Cindy: She’s only 26. She has great skin. She likes to munch on pistachios, which she keeps in her pocket. In other words, she’s sort of real. Prickly by nature and resentful of her fame, Cindy warms up to working-class, mixed-race British reporter Jack Stratton at a Manhattan party. For some inexplicable reason, he’s given a TV news show of his very own shortly thereafter, in Los Angeles. The lovers move to southern California, while Cindy thinks deep and generally incomprehensible thoughts on the meaning of that journey, with a few nods to all journeys made by humanity throughout time, etc. But it’s not long before Cindy is diagnosed with breast cancer and turns to creating a detailed physical and psychological map of that experience, from the devouring of the body to the corrosive effect upon the soul. Duffy, herself a survivor of breast cancer, spares no details.

Chilly and pretentious fictionalizing of a devastating disease.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-312-32541-X

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2004

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

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

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. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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