RaveThe Barnes & Noble ReviewMaile Meloy doesn’t waste a second before subverting the title of her gripping new novel, Do Not Become Alarmed. Catastrophe is the subject of a pair of foreboding epigrams, and that’s before you’ve even reached the first page ... But as Meloy reels you into the story with her cool and fluid prose, she clearly signals that yes, you should absolutely — and perhaps even perpetually — be more than a little alarmed ... when it comes to the genuine perils of an indifferent world, Meloy pulls no punches. As the story roars to a close, we’re forced to face just how random life actually is, and how close to a precipice each of us stands.
RaveThe Barnes & Noble Review...another wickedly sharp and funny book ... The DNA of Semple’s résumé, which includes Arrested Development and Mad About You, is threaded throughout her literary work. So too is the tight plotting needed to successfully launch and land a sitcom in the twenty-two minutes left to the writers once advertisers have had their say ... Semple packs the pages with laugh-out-loud scenes, dark story arcs, and tiny moments of tenderness. She’s generous both to her heroine and to her readers.
PositiveThe Barnes & Noble Review\"...the lovely writing, as precise and disorienting as the narrator, pulls you into its deceptively gentle current ... In Pond, there’s a nod to her awareness of the experimental nature of her work, though with its assured style it seems more accurate to view it as an investigation ... [a] strange and exhilarating universe.\
PositiveThe Barnes & Noble ReviewThe challenge with a character this damaged and closed off, though, is letting the reader in enough to care. Novi?’s nuanced portrayal of Ana as a child is just lovely, filled with grace and warmth and depth. It’s in the flash-forward to adulthood that the story falters. Ana’s an adult, a stranger to us now. Due to the novel’s time-tripping structure, crucial gaps in her history have yet to be filled in. Instead of damaged, Ana comes across as petulant, and with surliness standing in for trauma, goodwill gets squandered. It’s fitting, then, that when Ana returns to Croatia in search of answers, Novi? regains her balance. Scenes of unexpected culture shock, of not-American Ana realizing she’s not quite Croatian either, have the stamp of truth. Girl at War brings the story around full circle, and in the same places that Ana lost her life, Novi? gives it back.
Janice Y. K. Lee
RaveThe Barnes & Noble ReviewThere’s a distant tone to much of the novel, but it proves as deceptive as the fantasies of expatriate life: Lee tells devastating stories at an emotional remove, yet each blow as it falls is deeply felt.
RaveBarnes and Noble Review“In Did You Ever Had a Family … you feel the depth of Clegg’s compassion, glimpse his profound connection to regret.”