4 Oct 2016

This spring I nearly declared a moratorium on violent fiction after reading three savage novels: The Orphan Master’s Son, The Sympathizer and A Little Life. Afterward life felt dirty. Basta!

After all, the news is horrific: a toddler refugee washes ashore, a white...

5 Apr 2016

At the center of Emily Ross’s YA thriller Half in Love with Death is Caroline. Caroline is the dreamy middle child, younger sister of brash Jess. And last night Jess snuck out the bedroom window. She has not come home.

The perfect choice for narrator, Caroline is the o...

2 Apr 2016

The day Peyton Honeycutt gets his first period it’s a near calamity. Peyton was born female but is a boy. He holes up in the girls’ bathroom, too ashamed to come out. There he meets new girl, Tara Parks. And Tara becomes the object of his desire.

Early on Peyton and Tar...

22 Jan 2016

The danger in reviewing Patricia Park's book is that in listing her many accolades & accomplishments, you’ll miss out on the smart fun of her debut novel, Re Jane.

She’s not only a Fulbright scholar, but a first-time novelist who earned the author trifecta:...

9 Jan 2016

For a couple decades, starting with Nancy Drew right on through to Elmore Leonard, mysteries were my constant companion. I was sometimes an anxious child and the effect of a whodunit was cathartic. Paradoxically, terror rinsed anxiety.

In my early 20s I worked as a volu...

15 Dec 2015

The last time Joshua’s father beats Joshua in the woodshed, they accidentally set the woodshed on fire. Joshua’s father is not just Amish, but a revered church deacon. Both father and son are badly burned. Eleven-year-old Joshua escapes, leaving behind his mom, his mai...

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