Readers who prefer fiction that provides much simpler resolutions than life ever does will like Hatvany’s once-over-lightly...


When her severely disabled sister becomes pregnant, Nicole Hunter must confront the family issues she fled 10 years earlier.

Hatvany’s latest (Outside the Lines, 2012, etc.) afflicts her heroine with multiple traumas. First, there’s the unnamed condition that since infancy has rendered Nicole’s younger sister Jenny physically helpless and mute—except for the terrible screaming fits that provoked their father to hit her. His violence was Trauma Number Two; Number Three was the post-violence trips to Jenny’s bedroom at night, which led Nicole to believe their father sexually abused her. Trauma Number Four was the decision to institutionalize Jenny, which prompted Nicole to leave home 10 years earlier; she blames her mother for giving in to her father’s pressure, especially since the marriage ultimately failed anyway. Now, as the novel opens, comes Trauma Number Five: Jenny has been raped by a Wellman Institute employee, and her mother (Jenny’s legal guardian) refuses to consider terminating the pregnancy. Mom is racked with guilt about an abortion she had years earlier, but Nicole’s poorly motivated willingness to go along with this is one of the many moments when plot gears can be heard clanking loudly. We know from the get-go that Nicole has never really settled into life in San Francisco and that the gorgeous workaholic lawyer she lives with doesn’t want to have kids. So when she starts thinking about adopting Jenny’s baby and her hometown best friend introduces her to an exemplary single dad whose young daughter makes an instinctive connection with Jenny, a degree in rocket science isn’t required to see where all this is heading. Hatvany has an easy, readable prose style, and her tender portrait of Nicole’s nonverbal bond with Jenny (the eponymous language of sisters) is touching. But her characters are painted in broad strokes, and even the most wrenching questions get feel-good answers.

Readers who prefer fiction that provides much simpler resolutions than life ever does will like Hatvany’s once-over-lightly approach just fine.

Pub Date: July 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-8813-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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

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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 6, 2014

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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


Named for an imperfectly worded fortune cookie, Hoover's (It Ends with Us, 2016, etc.) latest compares a woman’s relationship with her husband before and after she finds out she’s infertile.

Quinn meets her future husband, Graham, in front of her soon-to-be-ex-fiance’s apartment, where Graham is about to confront him for having an affair with his girlfriend. A few years later, they are happily married but struggling to conceive. The “then and now” format—with alternating chapters moving back and forth in time—allows a hopeful romance to blossom within a dark but relatable dilemma. Back then, Quinn’s bad breakup leads her to the love of her life. In the now, she’s exhausted a laundry list of fertility options, from IVF treatments to adoption, and the silver lining is harder to find. Quinn’s bad relationship with her wealthy mother also prevents her from asking for more money to throw at the problem. But just when Quinn’s narrative starts to sound like she’s writing a long Facebook rant about her struggles, she reveals the larger issue: Ever since she and Graham have been trying to have a baby, intimacy has become a chore, and she doesn’t know how to tell him. Instead, she hopes the contents of a mystery box she’s kept since their wedding day will help her decide their fate. With a few well-timed silences, Hoover turns the fairly common problem of infertility into the more universal problem of poor communication. Graham and Quinn may or may not become parents, but if they don’t talk about their feelings, they won’t remain a couple, either.

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-7159-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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