A perceptive novel about human connection that sometimes gets lost in its own thoughts.

SEVEN PHOTOGRAPHS

A grieving graphic designer forms a unique bond with a depressed neighbor in Rossman’s debut novel.

It’s been a year and a half since Owen and Janey Conway’s son, Aaron, died. To deal with his grief, Owen has been attending a support group called SOS. He’s also interested in a neighbor named Wilson Lacy, a retired scientist and teacher. Owen barely knows him, but he’s seen him tooling around the neighborhood in his 1950s sports car. Because Owen is sad, he’s drawn to what he senses is Wilson’s sadness, so he approaches his neighbor with a proposal. Owen’s a graphic designer, and he wonders if Wilson might want to take part in a project involving seven photographs, carefully chosen to represent significant points in the neighbor’s lifetime. Wilson, whose wife has recently left him due to his depression, agrees to the plan. “Maybe he was beginning to see something else in his photographs that could be used to shed some light on his darkness—and that glimmer moved him with an amalgam of desperation and hope,” narrates Owen. His plan involves what he calls “visual literacy” (“The idea is that there is meaning engraved in all visual images”), and he presents the project to Wilson as a kind of science experiment. Then Sophie, the hostess at the local pub, enters the picture; Owen introduces her to Wilson without fully realizing the effect that she might have. Rossman’s novel about grief and its aftermath is truly heartfelt in its execution. Over the course of the story, the author clearly describes his protagonist’s complicated thought processes as he wades through grief on the way to acceptance. The characters are all thoughtful people who are clearly interested in finding answers to hard questions, and Rossman elegantly expresses Owen’s efforts to connect with a possibly kindred soul. The novel is long-winded, however, and the dense prose can make some of the book’s loftier concepts a bit hard to grasp. An extensive epilogue with photographs provides helpful insights, but other parts of the story remain hazy.

A perceptive novel about human connection that sometimes gets lost in its own thoughts.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5320-6531-6

Page Count: 354

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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