King handles his first novel with considerable accomplishment and very little hokum—it's only too easy to believe that these...

CARRIE

Figuratively and literally shattering moments of hoRRRRRipilication in Chamberlain, Maine where stones fly from the sky rather than from the hands of the villagers (as they did in "The Lottery," although the latter are equal to other forms of persecution).

All beginning when Carrie White discovers a gift with telekinetic powers (later established as a genetic fact), after she menstruates in full ignorance of the process and thinks she is bleeding to death while the other monsters in the high school locker room bait and bully her mercilessly. Carrie is the only child of a fundamentalist freak mother who has brought her up with a concept of sin which no blood of the Lamb can wash clean. In addition to a sympathetic principal and gym teacher, there's one girl who wishes to atone and turns her date for the spring ball over to Carrie who for the first time is happy, beautiful and acknowledged as such. But there will be hell to pay for this success—not only her mother but two youngsters who douse her in buckets of fresh-killed pig blood so that Carrie once again uses her "wild talent," flexes her mind and a complete catastrophe (explosion and an uncontrolled fire) virtually destroys the town.

King handles his first novel with considerable accomplishment and very little hokum—it's only too easy to believe that these youngsters who once ate peanut butter now scrawl "Carrie White eats shit." But as they still say around here, "Sit a spell and collect yourself."

Pub Date: April 8, 1974

ISBN: 0385086954

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974

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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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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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