Sandrea Talarico, Anthology New & Used Books, Scranton, Pa.
March seems like a long wait for Peter Hedges's spellbinding new novel, The Heights (Dutton)—I'm eager to recommend it to my customers. The title refers to a Brooklyn neighborhood populated with stay-at-home moms who plan themed birthday parties and discuss marriage over lattes. Kate Welch wants nothing more than to fit in. She and her husband, Tim, live in the Heights, but with Tim's teaching salary, their apartment's main room is called the living room/dining room/toy room. When a mysterious, fabulously rich woman buys the biggest mansion in the Heights, everything changes; Kate and Tim have topped the social ladder without climbing any of the middle rungs. But this turn of events comes at a price. Tackling such major issues as fidelity, parenthood and culture, Hedges (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?) handles them all with finesse. Using a dry wit mixed with real empathy and humanity, he renders all of his characters flawed, complex and ultimately lovable.