Marley and Me combined with Tuesdays with Morrie.

READ REVIEW

A DOG’S PURPOSE

A NOVEL FOR HUMANS

From humor columnist Cameron (8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter, 2008, etc.), a first novel that follows the spiritual journey of a dog through four incarnations. 

“Toby” is first born in a litter of four to a mother who lives in the wild away from humans. But soon the family is captured. Although his mother wants only to escape, Toby—who understands human language as soon as he hears it—is immediately drawn to the human kindness of the woman who has made it her mission to care for strays. Unfortunately her facility is already overcrowded when a vicious new dog arrives. Injured in a fight among the dogs, Toby ends up in a pound where he is put down, but not before he’s begun to wonder what his purpose in life might be. He is reborn as “Bailey,” a golden retriever who becomes the beloved pet of “the boy” named Ethan. Ethan lives with his parents in town but spends summers on his grandparents’ farm, where both Ethan and Bailey form a special bond with a little girl named Hannah. When Ethan is a teenager, a jealous, frankly evil schoolmate burns down Ethan’s house. Bailey helps the police catch the perpetrator, but Ethan is badly injured, physically and emotionally. He and Bailey spend his senior year recuperating at his grandparents’ farm as his parents’ marriage disintegrates. By now Bailey has realized that his purpose is to comfort Ethan. Ethan goes off to college and eventually Bailey dies of old age to be reborn as Ellie, a female dog who becomes the star of a K-9 unit until she loses her sense of smell. Although her owners love her, she never forgets her special bond with Ethan. So when Toby/Bailey/Ellie is reborn, male again, he searches until he finds Ethan, now a lonely old man living on the family farm. Soon Ethan adopts “Buddy,” who reunites Ethan with his lost love Hannah. 

Marley and Me combined with Tuesdays with Morrie.

Pub Date: July 6, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7653-2626-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

A sweeping romantic tale of thwarted love.

THE STATIONERY SHOP

Sixty years after her first love failed to meet her in a market square, Roya Khanom Archer finally has the chance to see him. But will he break her heart again?

Back in 1953, she was a 17-year-old schoolgirl, raised in a progressive home in Tehran, where her father encouraged Roya and her sister, Zari, to take advantage of the recent reforms that allowed women to go to university. While he hoped she might become a chemist, Roya loved escaping into novels, which sent her to Mr. Fakhri’s stationery and book store every Tuesday afternoon. There she first sees Bahman Aslan, a breathless young man already well-known as a political activist. Kamali (Together Tea, 2013) sets Roya and Bahman’s love against the tumultuous days of Mohammad Mossadegh’s rise and fall as prime minister of Iran, infusing their affair with political passion and an increasingly frantic sense of the shortness of time. Tuesday after Tuesday, the couple falls more deeply in love, and Bahman soon proposes marriage to Roya. While Roya’s family welcomes Bahman—although Zari warns Roya that his heart cannot be trusted—Bahman’s emotionally volatile mother refuses to accept the engagement, because she has already chosen Shahla, the daughter of a man closely allied with the shah, for her son. Roya determines to weather her future mother-in-law’s storms, but when Bahman and his family disappear, she can only turn to Mr. Fakhri for help. Although he cannot tell Roya where Bahman has gone, Mr. Fakhri offers to exchange secret letters between the lovers. The plan works, and the two even plan to elope, but Bahman does not show up in Sepah Square. Sixty years later, Bahman’s confession will finally expose the secrets that cast shadows over the lovers so long ago.

A sweeping romantic tale of thwarted love.

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9821-0748-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more