A beautifully written exploration of identity, memory, power, and agency.


A missing woman’s past upends the lives of the women around her.

In Wasserman’s new novel, the author of Girls on Fire (2016) explores the lives of three women after one of them goes missing. Despite everyone telling her to move on, college student Alice is searching for her mother, who's disappeared. When she discovers her mother has gone missing before, she sets out to find her and the truth—which brings her to the door of Elizabeth Strauss. While working as a fellow at the Meadowlark Institute for Memory Research, Strauss, who at that time was going by the nickname Lizzie, was invited to join a once-in-a-lifetime project by “psychology’s latest golden god,” Dr. Benjamin Strauss (then her boss, now her recently deceased husband). The project? Studying Alice’s mother, aka Wendy Doe, a woman found on a bus without identification or memories, who's in a dissociative fugue state. Wendy’s perspective is also offered through lyrical diary entries in which she explores who she is, who she’s not, and what’s happening to her in the moment (which is all she has). Told in alternating perspectives by Alice, Elizabeth, and Lizzie, the novel is like a knot being slowly unraveled. While a bit disorienting at first, Wasserman’s choice to differentiate between Lizzie’s point of view (the past) and Elizabeth’s (the present) succeeds narratively and thematically. By offering one woman’s insights at different points in time, the novel explores the ways time, memory, and hindsight inform who we are and who we become. After completing an exercise where she lists every memory she’s had in the last two weeks, Lizzie realizes: “Almost everything that happens is forgotten. Decades swallowed. Maybe...the mystery isn’t why we forget some things and not others. Maybe the mystery is why we ever remember.” In addition to meditating on personhood and recollection, Wasserman deftly explores power dynamics, ambition, and the lingering scars of trauma.

A beautifully written exploration of identity, memory, power, and agency.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3949-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.


A former thief who specialized in stealing magical documents is forced back into her old habits in Black's adult debut.

Charlie Hall used to work as a thief, stealing for and from magicians—or rather, “gloamists.” In this world, gloamists are people with magical shadows that are alive, gaining strength from the gloamists' own blood. A gloamist can learn to manipulate the magic of their shadow, doing everything from changing how it looks to using it to steal, possess a person, or even murder. Gloamists hire nonmagical people like Charlie to steal precious and rare magical documents written by their kind throughout history and detailing their research and experiments in shadow magic. Gloamists can use onyx to keep each other from sending shadows to steal these treasures, but onyx won't stop regular humans from old-fashioned breaking and entering. After Charlie’s talent for crime gets her into too much trouble, she swears off her old career and tries to settle down with her sensible boyfriend, Vince—but when she finds a dead man in an alley and notices that even his shadow has been ripped to pieces, she can’t help trying to figure out who he was and why he met such a gruesome end. Before she knows it, Charlie is forced back into a life of lies and danger, using her skills as a thief to find a book that could unleash the full and terrifying power of the shadow world. Black is a veteran fantasy writer, which shows in the opening pages as she neatly and easily guides the reader through the engrossing world of gloamists, magical shadows, and Charlie’s brand of criminality. There's a lot of flipping back and forth between the past and the present, and though both timelines are well plotted and suspenseful, the story leans a touch too hard on the flashbacks. Still, the mystery elements are well executed, as is Charlie’s characterization, and the big twist at the end packs a satisfying punch.

Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81219-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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