Intelligent and fun, this fast-paced tale delivers kaleidoscopic settings and an adventurous love story.

Wilder

From the The Renegades series

Yarros (Ignite: Legacy, 2016, etc.) offers a shipboard romance between an extreme sports athlete and his ambitious tutor.

Incredibly wealthy Paxton “Pax” Wilder and three of his friends are the original Renegades, performing extreme sports stunts for their YouTube channel and dominating the X Games while finishing their college educations. Eleanor “Leah” Baxter is a senior at Dartmouth with a 4.0 GPA, majoring in international relations and planning for graduate school. When Leah is assigned as Pax’s tutor for a yearlong educational program onboard the ship Athena, she plans to use a businesslike approach. After all, her scholarship eligibility is tied to his grades as part of her contract, and continued funding for the documentary the Renegades are filming also relies on Pax’s academic success. When Pax pushes her into zip-lining at the ship’s launch party, her anger at his arrogance creates some distance. But soon, the spark between them becomes impossible to ignore. While negotiating the hazards of their new romance, they also must keep up with their studies, work on new stunts, provide documentary footage, and look for a traitor among Pax’s innermost circle. Unexplained accidents and rigged gear make this not only a betrayal of trust, but also a safety risk. There are other acts of treachery among the group members. And eventually, Pax will have to face the devastating consequences when Leah learns his secret. Pacing is swift and sure, foreshadowing is light and effective, and believable plot twists abound; the story races to its explosive, emotionally satisfying conclusion. Liberal but judicious use of profanity and love of wordplay (“I’m sure as hell not your beck-and-call girl. Especially not the call-girl part,” for example) enliven the narrative. And the chemistry between Leah and Pax absolutely sizzles. The tale, told in first person by each of them in alternating chapters, allows a deeper look at the characters’ fears, feelings, and ghosts. In Yarros’ skilled hands, these shifting viewpoints don’t feel contrived but like an essential device for enriching the plot. Even secondary characters are well-developed and their motivations explained. The exotic settings (Istanbul, Madagascar, etc.) and extreme sports stunts (parasailing, BASE jumping, etc.) never overwhelm the story; caught up in the events, readers enjoy an emotionally nuanced thrill ride. This escapist treat remains a page-turner until the end.

Intelligent and fun, this fast-paced tale delivers kaleidoscopic settings and an adventurous love story.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68281-268-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Entangled: Embrace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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