Strictly for fans—mostly under18—who can’t get enough of the Web site. Warning: Gushy, girlish prose throughout, with triple...



A twentysomething woman in New York . . . sound familiar? Not surprising.

Download Macromedia Flash Player 6 and you can check out Vivian Livingston on the Web at Tour her cute apartment, feed her cute dog, and rummage through her cute clutter. You can even click and flush her cartoon toilet or peek at her cool clothes! Vivian’s totally cool Web site gets more than six million hits a month and bristles with marketing links. Yes, Vivian has promotional deals with car companies, beauty products, trendy stores, girl magazines, and the greatest retail shrine of all, Bloomingdale’s. At least this pretend autobiography by Vivian’s amanuensis (and shameless shill) Sherrie Krantz doesn’t require that you provide your age, sex, and home address in order to read it. But we already know so much about Vivian: she went to Penn State, ended an abusive relationship with a frat hunk, moved to New York with her BFF (Best Friend Forever) after winning a songwriting contest, has a cool job as a glorified assistant at VH1, has straight and gay friends, can’t get her life together but has a lot of fun trying. Men: studly poet Patrick is great in bed but a cheater at heart, and tall handsome John, who’s like an investment banker or an attorney or something, is all wrapped up in himself. Work keeps Vivian busy, even if arrogant boss Zack won’t give her the promotion she deserves. Still, her next assignment is a plum: an all-star auto race in California. When she’s back in New York, a new romance blossoms with Jack, an Italian-American firefighter. Tragedy is averted when Vivian’s BFF’s stupid boyfriend accidentally sets fire to her apartment, but no one is hurt and the cute dog is rescued. Life goes on!!!

Strictly for fans—mostly under18—who can’t get enough of the Web site. Warning: Gushy, girlish prose throughout, with triple exclamation points, triple question marks, and emoticons.

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-345-45354-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2002

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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