A spellbinding, compelling, and multifaceted tale about an Iranian family haunted by war.

A GIRL CALLED RUMI

An Iranian woman living in America confronts the trauma of her war-torn childhood in this debut novel.

Honarvar’s tale opens in Shiraz, Iran, in 1981 during the Iran-Iraq War. Kimia Shams is a 9-year-old girl on an errand to buy naan at a bakery when she is distracted by a puppet show performed by an enigmatic, aging storyteller. The square is targeted by a missile strike, and Kimia is dragged to safety by her brother, Arman. Kimia and her friend Reza Khan return to the scene of the devastation and discover a trapdoor that leads them into the magical realm of the storyteller, Baba Morshed. As the story unfolds, Baba tells the children a quest tale about the Simorgh, a bird from Persian mythology. Fast-forward to 2009, and Kimia is working as a spiritual counselor in California. She and her family still grapple with the psychological impact of war—her mother in particular is afflicted by bouts of shaking yet longs to return to her homeland. Kimia and her family journey to Iran but find themselves in the midst of the Green Uprising, where the ghosts of their past pose a clear danger. Honarvar’s gorgeously evocative prose subtly captures the young Kimia’s irrepressible delight in the face of oppression: “My sun-soaked eyes followed the touch, and although I couldn’t make out his face, I knew it was Reza. I broke into a smile. Not even my hijab could restrain the elation beaming from me.” The narrative is written predominantly from Kimia’s perspective, but some chapters are devoted to the viewpoints of other characters, such as Arman. Each is written in the first person, and although the author presents a variety of distinct voices, some readers may feel that a third-person narrative mode for such players would add further stylistic texture. This is a minor criticism of a story that draws beautifully on the power of Iranian fables to unearth the magical, restorative world that Kimia finds beneath the rubble of war: “The smooth texture of the wall changed to a rugged surface with dramatic peaks and valleys. I paused and examined a stone carving of the giant Simorgh stretched out before me.” This stellar first novel marks the writer as an author to watch.

A spellbinding, compelling, and multifaceted tale about an Iranian family haunted by war.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-942436-46-1

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Forest Avenue Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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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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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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