A timely and entertaining modern morality tale.

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THREE GIRLS AND THEIR BROTHER

Four teenage siblings, suddenly spotlit by fame, are forced to take responsibility when the grownups in their lives offer inadequate guidance.

Playwright Rebeck’s first novel is a wickedly enjoyable exposé of modern celebrity; the cruel power wielded by fashionistas, PR minders, agents, paparazzi, Hollywood stars and entourages; and above all the perils of becoming an overexposed young star. It’s the Heller sisters’ red hair (and their famous grandfather’s reputation) that first gets them noticed. After “insanely beautiful” Daria, Polly and Amelia (18, 17 and 14 respectively) are photographed for the New Yorker, they are dubbed the next big thing. Soon the snowball of fame is gathering speed, but Amelia nearly derails it when she bites an aging, lecherous movie action hero who gropes her at the W bar. An apology on Regis and Kelly smoothes things over, and the show is back on the road, with modeling shoots for Elle, Vogue and Glamour. Then Amelia is invited to appear in an off-Broadway play, which renders her more famous and more vulnerable than her sisters. The fourth sibling is Philip, whose protectiveness toward Amelia gets him expelled from their Brooklyn home and sent to live with their divorced father. The siblings take turns narrating the story, and Rebeck’s dramatic skills are evident in the youthful, often profane voices. A farcical shootout of a conclusion in a chic hotel, with the brother and sisters trying to save Amelia’s virtue, drives home the book’s message: The desire to be famous is a contagious disease of infinite proportions.

A timely and entertaining modern morality tale.

Pub Date: April 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-307-39414-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Shaye Areheart/Harmony

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2008

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS

Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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