SCARED SCRIPTLESS

With a lovable heroine and industry gossip, Sweeney’s latest goes behind the scenes and straight to the heart.

A unique take on workplace romance from the actress-turned-author (The Star Attraction, 2013) whose TV credits include The Biggest Loser and Days of Our Lives.

Maddy Carson’s success as a script supervisor for a popular television series is getting in the way of her personal life. It's easy to see why as Sweeney digs into the minutiae of Maddy's job: “I have a visual record of every prop and how the actor is holding it and every movement they made in the scene,” Maddy says, explaining how she keeps the action consistent between takes, but that's only one reason her motto is “Never trust the actors.” Maddy is nothing like the stiletto-wearing models who fawn over the show’s handsome stars, and it’s been hard for her to find a good match when the actors on set seem to be the only men available—although the hot new cast member, Adam Devin, is surprisingly down-to-earth. Maddy thinks she’s found the perfect compromise in her buttoned-up boss, Craig, but when her typecasting fails to match reality, she’ll have to decide whether to stick to the script or follow her heart. Their relationship is put to the test when they decide to pitch a reality TV series based on the ski-resort town where Maddy grew up. It takes a long time to build up to the main conflict—the show could either save the flailing town or exploit its residents, depending on how it’s handled—but the second half delivers a big emotional payoff. Whether she's shaking in her high heels as she pitches the show to a room full of bored executives, cringing at a heavily edited “sizzle reel” that shows her neighbors in a bad light, or agonizing over how invisible she would feel standing next to a star on the red carpet when she pictures a new relationship with Adam, Maddy's fight for a non-Hollywood ending is about as Hollywood as it gets.

With a lovable heroine and industry gossip, Sweeney’s latest goes behind the scenes and straight to the heart.

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4013-1105-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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IT ENDS WITH US

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

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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 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

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

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. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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