Kirino writes lyrically as she spins a magical and ethereal tale.


Kirino recounts the beauty and terror of a traditional Japanese myth, one reminiscent of Demeter and Persephone.

The opening of the narrative is both realistic and dreamlike. Kirino introduces us to Namima and her older sister Kamikuu, the latter of whom is particularly beautiful. On her 6th birthday, Kamikuu finds out she is destined to become an Oracle, and from that moment, the fates of the two sisters diverge, for Namima begins to wait upon her sister daily, carrying a basket of food in honor of Kamikuu’s sacred and privileged life. Although Kamikuu never finishes each day’s meal, Namima is forbidden to touch the food, an irony in that many of the islanders are in want. As time passes, a handsome young man named Mahito becomes enamored of Namima and persuades her to eat some of the sacred food. He also impregnates Namima and convinces her to leave the island. Shortly after giving birth to a daughter, Namima is startled to find Mahito choking her. In fact, he murders her and sends her to the underworld, where she assists Izanami, goddess of the Realm of the Dead. Burning with desire to know what has happened in the land of the living since her death, Namima returns as a wasp, only to find that Mahito has married Kamikuu. In a rage, Namima stings her lover between the eyes, sending him to the land of the dead. Kirino continues with a narrative about Izanami and Izanaki, gods of male and female desire, whose lives (insofar as gods have mortal lives) intertwine with the fates of Namima and Kamikuu.

Kirino writes lyrically as she spins a magical and ethereal tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2109-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2013

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.


When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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