JULIET: Star or Star-Crossed?

Will Ballantine’s major push for Anne Fortier‘s debut novel Juliet pay off? The tale of an American woman who travels to Italy and discovers her ties to the Giulietta who inspired Shakespeare was first touted on the BEA Editors’ Buzz panel and at ALA’s Shout and Share. Rights have been sold in 29 territories around the world.

Earlier this summer it was chosen as a summer reading pick by the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

But now, Entertainment Weekly gives it a “B-“, finding that it falls short of its aim to be,

…a distaff version of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, with a dash of A.S. Byatt’s Possession tossed in. . . . Fortier’s writing is on firm ground in the book’s historical passages. The modern section, by contrast, feels contrived, and the author resorts to more telling than showing to keep her plot zipping along.

Still, holds are edging up at libraries we checked.

Anne Fortier
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books – (2010-08-24)
ISBN / EAN: 0345516109 / 9780345516107

Notable Young Adult Fiction On Sale Next Week

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic), the doorstopper final entry in the Hunger Games trilogy, is embargoed until 12:01 am next Tuesday, August 23, when bookstores will break into midnight party mode, says USA Today. It’s also been signed for a movie that’s drawn casting speculation from New York magazine’s Vulture blog.

Three Black Swans by Caroline B. Cooney (Delacorte Books for Young Readers) is the suspenseful tale of twins seemingly separated at birth – or are they more than twins? This was one of LisaVon Drasek’s Picks for August, for ages 12 and up.

Other Notable Fiction On Sale Next Week

Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs (Scribner) is the 13th novel starring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Publishers Weekly says, “Reichs, who once again uses her own scientific knowledge to enhance a complex plot and continually developing characters, delivers a whopper of a final twist.”

The Town by Chuck Hogan is the mass market movie tie-in edition of the author’s third novel, Prince of Thieves (2004), about four friends and rivals who rob a bank in Charlestown. The movie, directed by Ben Afleck, opens in theaters on September 17.

The Sonderberg Case by Elie Wiesel, translated by Catherine Temerson (Knopf), is a novel about a New York theater critic whose parents are Holocaust survivors and whose children are Americans living in Israel. PW says, “Wiesel returns to the moral questions that characterize the post-WWII generation in this slim novel that is both overstuffed with plot and skimpy on motive. . . . The ambitious scope of the story, spanning generations, is compelling, but limited by the novel’s length.”

The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard (Morrow) follows the lives of two girls born on the same day in the same hospital in New Hampshire. Entertainment Weekly gives it a C,

The author, whose last novel, Labor Day, was more satisfying and sure-footed, seems to think she’s weaving a knotty tale of family secrets, told in the alternating voices of her likable main characters. And yet all her twists are clumsily telegraphed.

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