MixedThe New York Times Book ReviewNapoli illuminates the terrifying, thrilling energy of NPR as start-up ... The book is a lesson in how the fringe project of one generation becomes the mainstream of the next ... Refreshingly, she also reminds us that some of the debates that have roiled the media in recent years — such as the fear that clickbait will engulf serious journalism — are not new, though the culprit used to be network television, not BuzzFeed ... Napoli clearly admires her subjects, and they come across as trailblazers, but they remain somewhat one-dimensional in the book, never reaching the intimacy of first-name basis that the title promises. We learn the most about Totenberg and Roberts, including an illuminating look at the Democratic political dynasty in which Roberts grew up ... But over all, Napoli takes a \'nevertheless, she persisted\' approach with the women, largely skimming over their doubts and contradictions in favor of tidy, triumphant narrative arcs ... Throughout the book, I found myself wishing for the gritty details that would make the \'founding mothers\' less perfect role models, but more interesting characters.
MixedThe New York Review of BooksThat first devastating breakup is fertile territory for a novelist: The misery, irrationality and fits of self-destruction that young exes indulge are all excellent fodder for fiction. But instead of exploring the particulars of these women’s pain, Feltman concocts a series of historical and familial tragedies, both big and small, for them to reckon with ... Meanwhile, the heroines, who narrate alternating chapters, react with the same agony to both the minor crises ... Willa & Hesper does contain some gems of observational writing ... the knotty connection between [the] divorced but still-involved parents [of Hesper] feel more compelling than the relationship between the novel’s namesakes. Willa and Hesper do end up unearthing deeper truths about themselves and humanity ... Of course, the past isn’t even past—but we didn’t need so many theatrics to remind us of that.
RaveThe New York Times\"Abel, who previously worked as a reporter, is a perceptive writer whose astute observations keep the book funny and light even under the weight of its Big Ideas ... Abel draws convincing parallels between the rituals of camp and those of activism: the sign-making, the protesting, the weekly editorial writing.\