A bit sudsy, but sharp dialogue and solid, fast-paced storytelling make for a gratifying read.


This winning sequel to Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made (1997) revisits childhood friends Pat, Marcus and Gayle.

Nearing 40, the three have found success in Manhattan. Marcus, a former ball player, is now a successful sport’s agent, while his wife Pat and best friend Gayle own and operate the Ell & Me Company, creating popular storybooks and dolls. In the 1997 novel, the lives of Gayle and her daughter Vanessa were nearly ruined (they were stuck in a homeless shelter thanks to Gayle’s gambling husband Ramsey, now long gone—or is he?), but the two have moved on to a more prosperous, if not happier life. Vanessa is a spoiled teen who wants to pursue a dancing career, while Gayle binges and purges, trying to maintain a façade of calm. Meanwhile, Pat and Marcus seem like an A-list couple, but the reality is sadder, with the two too busy moving and shaking to realize how lonely they are. Spanning a few years, the novel starts with a shock for Marcus when 18-year-old Tiffani shows up wanting to meet her daddy. A paternity test lets Marcus off the hook, but, harboring a desire for kids of his own, he still wants to help her. Pat arranges for Tiffani to go to boarding school, then college and then take a job with Ell & Me. Hardworking Tiffani seems too good to be true—and she is. If only Vanessa could be so focused, but instead she drops out of school, moves in with her abusive boyfriend and kindly lets Gayle know where her monthly allowance can be sent. Tiffani grows ever successful in her manipulation of others, Vanessa and Gayle do battle in their own private hells, Pat and Marcus become increasingly separate and Gayle is insisting Pat sell out to the big manufacturer that wants to buy their company. The road to happiness for the gang is long.

A bit sudsy, but sharp dialogue and solid, fast-paced storytelling make for a gratifying read.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4165-3167-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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