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Click to search this book in our catalog Malibu Rising
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Library Journal It's August 1983 in Malibu, CA, time for Nina Riva's annual wrap-up-the-summer party, where everyone gathers to rub tanned shoulders the supermodel; her brothers, champion surfer Jay and photographer Hud; and beloved little sister Kit.But this year, everyone has secrets that lead to a house in flames by morning. From the author of the multi-best-booked, New York Times best-selling Daisy Jones & The Six, the basis of the Amazon series.

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Publishers Weekly Reid (Daisy Jones and the Six) unfurls a fast-paced and addictive story of a group of celebrity siblings in Malibu. There’s model Nina Riva, pro surfer Jay, photographer Hudson, and Kit, an aspiring professional surfer. The Rivas’ absentee philandering father, Mick, won over their mother, June, with a sultry singing voice that propelled him to stratospheric fame in the 1950s. This setup launches the novel’s two braided timelines: Mick and June’s love story and tragic unraveling, and the narrative of what happens on Saturday, Aug. 27, 1983: the day of the Riva siblings’ legendary annual party. Everyone who’s anyone in Los Angeles attends, the rule being, “If you were cool enough to know about the party, you were cool enough to come to the party.” The author capably tracks the siblings’ emotionally fraught journeys—especially that of Nina, whose husband has run off just before the party—and evokes a bygone Malibu’s natural and social hazards in sharp, descriptive writing, connected by a leitmotif of fire. “Malibu catches fire. It is simply what Malibu does from time to time,” the opening lines read, foreshadowing disaster. Reid’s handling of the various arcs is impressive, but the novel’s climactic scenes verge on melodramatic. Still, this page-turning indulgence hits the spot. (May)

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Click to search this book in our catalog River, Cross My Heart
by Breena Clarke

Library Journal: YA-Set in Georgetown, this poignant coming-of-age story begins with the drowning death of six-year-old Clara Bynum. Johnnie May, at 12, was supposed to be minding her the morning the children went down to the river, knowing they were not allowed to play near it, much less swim in it. The Bynums had come to Washington, DC, from North Carolina looking for a better life, and life for the colored in Georgetown in the 1920s was better: plenty of work and good schools for the children. But Johnnie May's independent spirit causes trouble from the beginning. She is always asking why-why couldn't she swim in the pool on Volta Place, right across from Aunt Ina's house? Why does she always have to mind her little sister and clean up after her? Johnnie May is a natural leader, and "knowing her place" is a struggle. The story, which follows the Bynum family and friends in Georgetown for about a year, ends in triumph as Johnnie May wins a swim meet held in the new pool built for black people. Much of the book describes Johnnie May's relationships with her mother, her relatives, and her friends, painting a revealing picture of a river, a family, and a community.-Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: Debut writer and Washington, D.C., native, Clarke has written a novel as lyric and alternately beguiling and confounding as its title. It is the story of the drowning of a six-year-old child, and the tragedy's ramifications for her family and neighbors in the black area of Georgetown in 1925 D.C. Clarke's scene-building skills are the novel's strengths and occasionally its weaknesses, as each chapter is an intense set piece that sometimes provokes more questions than answers. The story is ultimately that of the effects of Clara Bynum's death on her 12-year-old sister, Johnnie Mae, who was babysitting Clara at the time she fell into the river. Johnnie Mae suffers guilt, fear and loss, endures dreams, imaginings and confusion as she sees visions of her sister everywhere: in a trauma-stung classmate who wears braids like Clara's, and the vapor from a boiling pot of green beans that resembles her sister's face. Against a felt, poignant and meticulously detailed panorama of the African-American (then called "colored") community of Georgetown, Johnnie Mae struggles to find her bearings, to cope with institutional and family expectations, and with puberty and race. Johnnie Mae ultimately derives strength from her element, the water, as she becomes a talented swimmer, but her parents Alice and Willie struggle with inextinguishable grief. From the first vivid description of the Potomac, liquid elements provide themes and narrative tension in this plangent coming-of-age story, granting the reader a necessary, if temporary, distancing from the blunt fact of a dead child. Indeed, Clarke's research about African-American Georgetown in the early 20th century revisits a time and place as intricate as any, but so remote from most memories that the historical details are fascinating footnotes to an era. While authorial asides are sometimes intrusive, this is a haunting story. Agent, Cynthia Cannell.

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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