Tag Archives: Ballantine

Review: When The Stars Go Dark

When the Stars Go Dark

When the Stars Go Dark
By Paula McLain
Ballantine Books, 9780593237892, April 13, 2021, 384pp.

The Short of It:

A grieving detective flees her family for her old hometown and becomes enmeshed in a missing persons case.

The Rest of It:

Anna Hart’s experience as a missing persons detective comes in handy when she returns to her hometown only to find that a girl has gone missing. Anna left home after a tragic event shook her to the core. Trying to put some space between herself and what’s happened, she quickly agrees to help her friend Will when he shares his concern about the case he’s working on. He has no leads and with Anna’s help, he hopes to piece things together and put the suspect behind bars.

Anna’s ability to accurately read young people is a result of her time spent in the foster care system. She understands them better than most because she’s seen how abuse and emotional damage can play a role in how they view themselves and it’s this edge that allows her to focus on certain details that other detectives might overlook. As Anna and Will work together to find this missing girl, Anna can’t help but become obsessed with the case. She must find her and she must find her alive.

What I liked about When the Stars Go Dark, is that the author weaves in actual missing persons cases like Polly Klaas, which gives this story an edge and a realistic feel. I would have liked a little more of a lead-up to the suspect. The big reveal felt sudden and rushed. I was reading a review copy and it’s possible some paragraphs were left out because all of a sudden the suspect was identified. I actually went back a few pages to verify.

Anyway, I was immediately pulled into this story but felt like it could have gone a little deeper into Anna’s past to make it really compelling.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Small Great Things

Small Great Things

Small Great Things
By Jodi Picoult
Ballantine Books, 9780345544971, February 2018, 528pp.

The Short of It:

This is a book that will fire you up and make you angry but it’s also a great book to discuss.

The Rest of It:

A good friend suggested Small Great Things to me after I read Just Mercy. Before the “safer at home” orders, I bought a copy of the book but then I sat on it because with the quarantine and all, I had such a hard time focusing on reading that a book, heavy with race themes, didn’t seem like a book I wanted to reach for. But, I promised her I’d read it and I finally did.

Ruth is a labor and delivery nurse, a graduate of Yale with twenty years experience in the field. As she tends to a young mother who has just given birth, and begins to assess the infant, she is asked by the parents to step away from the child. Shortly afterward, her supervisor explains that the parents do not want a black nurse tending to their son and places a Post-it note in the child’s file, saying so. Although it’s explained to Ruth that parents make special requests all the time and that this is no different, Ruth is the only black nurse in the unit and feels that this is a personal attack against her.

After the child experiences a medical emergency, and Ruth is the only nurse available to tend to him, she’s not sure what to do. Care for the infant in an attempt to save him or follow the orders that she’s been given?

This was a really great read. Timely. As I was finishing the final pages the news about Ahmaud Arbery came to light and it made me all the more angry while reading. Small Great Things speaks of injustice but also touches on white supremacy and the rise of it. It’s a tough pill to swallow and you will hate some of these characters. I suppose that’s a testament to Picoult’s writing because these characters smacked of hate and I did not want to spend any time with them.

That said, this would make a fabulous book club read because there is so much to discuss. Ruth is also a widowed mother, caring for her college-bound son so her choices directly impact her son and his ability to continue his education. Have you read it? If not, definitely add it to your list.

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.