Morton, Kate. The Secret Keeper.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 2012.

I read The Lake House awhile back and was thoroughly caught up in the narrative. Morton is a first-rate storyteller. That book dealt with the theme of family secrets, and this one does, too. The first (and main) POV character, though there are several others, is Laurel Nicolson, who grew up happy with her three sisters and much younger brother in a rural English farmhouse.


Gurtler, Janet. I’m Not Her.

Napierville, IL: SourceBooks, 2011.

I’ve read a number of YA novels that deal with the protagonist’s struggle to come back from the death of a sibling or best friend, and some of them have been quite good. The death is usually sudden, from a weak heart or a car wreck or something, and it’s always shocking. One moment someone is there and the next instant they’re not. But this one is rather different.


Published in: on 27 May 2020 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Bujold, Lois McMaster. Falling Free.

NY: Baen Books, 1988.

I got hooked on the saga of Miles Vorkosigan and his family a decade ago and worked my way through the whole series in order, and enjoyed them all. But somehow I overlooked this sort-of prequel. I say “sort-of” because it’s set two centuries before the time of Aral and Cordelia, much less their son, and the world of Barrayar is never even mentioned.


Shute, Nevil. On the Beach.

NY: Morrow, 1957.

I’m in my 70s, so I grew up in the midst of the Cold War of the 1950s, when the threat of a nuclear holocaust seemed very, very real. I was in San Antonio, living near a major military installation, during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and my friends and I fully expected to hear the air raid sirens at any moment. But also, I had only just read this book a couple of months before that, and comparing it with the newspapers kept me from getting much sleep. Re-reading it now, almost sixty years later, all those memories came back to me. It’s a very different world from the one Shute set his story in, but some things really haven’t changed at all.


Published in: on 20 May 2020 at 4:37 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Tamaki, Mariko & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me.

NY: First Second, 2019.

This is the other kind of graphic novel, the kind that’s as far from a “comic book” as it’s possible to get. The kind that could as easily be a text-only novel, but in which the story really is enhanced by the art. The protagonist is Frederica Riley, a seventeen-year-old Berkeley lesbian, who has been in love with Laura Dean, the most popular girl in school, for a year now. And Laura is a crappy girlfriend.


Yoon, David. Frankly in Love.

NY: Putnam, 2019.

This debut novel is a YA romance, but with a considerably different slant than most. Frank Li is a California-born Korean-American nerdish teenager whose grasp of his ancestral language is rudimentary at best. He thinks of himself, most of the time, as simply “American.” His mostly unassimilated parents only ever think of themselves as “Korean.”


McCammon, Robert R. Boy’s Life.

NY: Pocket Books, 1991.

McCammon is a novelist. But more than that — and more important, he’s a storyteller. And the thing about a well-told story is, it’s like sitting down on your sofa with a beer and simply listening to someone while he tells you interesting things. A well-told story is also a lot like life, in that much of what happens seems minor, ordinary, day-to-day. Just the routine stuff that happens between getting up and going to bed.


Published in: on 12 May 2020 at 3:36 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Taylor, Jodi. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Abercyon, UK: Accent Press, 2015.

This is the sixth outing for the crew of historians at St. Mary’s Institute, in one of the best time-travel adventure series ever conceived, and the theme is stated explicitly in the title — because anything that can go wrong does. Max had some necessary knee surgery done and isn’t very mobile at the moment, so she and Peterson have swapped jobs for awhile and she’s now the Chief Training Officer.


Published in: on 7 May 2020 at 6:25 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

McDevitt, Jack. Seeker.

NY: Ace Books, 2005.

McDevitt is, generally, one of our more reliable SF authors, and his far-future “Alex Benedict” series is some of his best work. Alex is a dealer in antiquities out on Rimway, at the edge of human-inhabited space — he’s emphatically not an archaeologist, which regularly gets him sneered at by the academics.