An unconventional love story for independent women.

BAD LUCK BRIDESMAID

After repeatedly serving as a bridesmaid in weddings that don't end up happening, a woman starts to worry she’s cursed.

Zoey Marks doesn’t believe in marriage, because she’s not sure it ever works out. At least, it doesn’t seem to work out when she’s involved. After being a bridesmaid for two brides who never made it down the aisle, she couldn’t be less interested in getting engaged herself. Especially not when she has her high-powered job running a nontraditional advertising agency with her friend Sara (one of the brides whose weddings Zoey may have cursed). But then she meets Rylan, her lifelong best friend Hannah’s cousin. Zoey quickly falls passionately in love with Rylan, enough to make her possibly think about questioning her anti-marriage stance. That is, until she’s in yet another wedding that ends before it begins. When Rylan proposes right after Zoey gets back home from the third wedding that wasn’t, Zoey turns him down, unable to promise a forever she can’t truly believe in. Wallowing in heartbreak, Zoey’s one comfort is that at least she won’t have to see Rylan again…that is, until Hannah announces that she’s getting married in Ireland, and she wants Zoey by her side. Rylan will be there, and now Zoey has to juggle seeing him, making sure Hannah’s wedding survives Zoey’s bridesmaid curse, and trying to figure out if she can commit to forever and the future she so desperately wants with Rylan. But the wedding weekend is full of secrets, betrayals, and a scheming best man, and Zoey’s afraid that both she and Hannah might not be headed for a happily-ever-after. Zoey’s narration is quick, clever, and full of zingers, but Greenberg often uses that narration to tell the reader things about Zoey’s relationship with Rylan rather than showing their love develop, which makes it difficult to become invested in them as a couple. The story is much more surprising and boldly messy than the cute cover implies, and readers who aren’t looking for a traditional romantic-comedy structure may relate to Zoey’s quest for happiness and her understanding that it can be found in places other than wedding ceremonies.

An unconventional love story for independent women.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-2507-9159-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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