Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.
"*Starred Review* Eva, age 12, knows her father as a sweet man who visits on Sundays, until her mother announces that his wife has died and they'll be paying him a visit. And so Eva arrives at a home she's never seen to live with her father and older half sister, Iris, whom she didn't know existed. Talented, self-involved Iris is a doggedly hopeful performer, winning every local and regional competition in their small midwestern college town before graduating high school and escaping to Hollywood with the embarrassing but brainy and reliable Eva in tow. There is a gossip-column scandal and a cross-country road trip, an abducted orphan and an accused spy, and more than a couple of masquerades, but everything here is fresh; Bloom's cannonballs read like placid ripples. Told partially from Eva's perspective, and with epistolary interludes over the novel's 1939-49 span, Eva's world is one of endless opportunities for reinvention and redemption if one only takes them. With a spare and trusting style, Bloom invites readers to fill the spaces her pretty prose allows, with true and beautiful results. High-Demand Backstory: An extensive marketing campaign and author tour will accompany review attention, to the benefit of fans of Bloom's best-selling historical novel Away (2007).--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2014 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"In Bloom's imaginative romp set in 1939, 11-year-old Eva meets Iris, the older half-sister she never knew she had, after being abandoned by her mother and left on her father's doorstep in Ohio. Colorful events ensue: Iris runs away to Hollywood with Eva to start a movie career, only to be blackballed over a scandalous lesbian affair; the sisters and their father become servants in the home of a Long Island family; Iris sets her romantic sights on the family's cook, Reenie, first scheming to have Reenie's husband arrested as a German spy and then kidnapping an orphan because Reenie wants a child. The book is written from Eva's point of view in a simple, matter-of-fact style, describing the events without emotion. Packard's narration is tailored to Bloom's under- stated writing style: she reads in a cool, neutral voice that perfectly matches the author's tone. But this type of performance turns out to be detrimental to story in the audio edition, creating distance rather than engagement between listeners and the vibrant plot. Instead of an intimate listening experience that draws listeners in, it holds them at arms' length, making it difficult to empathize even when tragedy hits. A Random House hardcover. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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