An elegant and nuanced meditation on family, class, perception, illness, and death.

ANTONIO

Accreting through cumulative and sometimes contradictory accounts of a crumbling São Paulo dynasty, this philosophical novel examines what people present and what they conceal, even from themselves.

On the cusp of becoming the father of a baby boy to be named Antonio, Benjamim, a graphic designer from Rio de Janeiro, has traveled to his own father's hometown of São Paulo. Although we have neither dialogue from nor, for the vast majority of the book, even a glimpse of this central character, we gradually glean through the single-sided conversations directed at him by his three interlocutors—his father's friend Raul, his grandparents' friend Haroldo, and his paternal grandmother, Isabel, who is dying alone in a hospital room—that he is seeking answers about his father, Teodoro. To what purpose, precisely, is never revealed, but as the youngest and most promising child of a prominent and once-affluent family, Teo fled São Paulo for the countryside, not just "to come into contact with the earth of our land," Haroldo theorizes. "He wanted to become it." Here he suffered from a long, untreated mental illness and eventual breakdown that led to his death when Benjamim was still a boy. The tale of his father's self-exile from the city of his birth unfolds as Benjamim learns who Teo was as a son and a man apart from the parent he knew. In gradually accumulating details, he is told of the death of his grandfather Xavier's first child and Benjamim's namesake, Xavier's subsequent collapse and commitment to a "rest home," and how the pseudo-Oedipal story of his own existence evolved from this tragedy. By chapters, the book cycles among Raul's, Haroldo's, and Isabel's recollections on the major events in Teo's and Xavier's lives and the broader family history, a careful study of the unreliability of witness filtered through memory, time, and one's own perception and self-regard. Turning the focus among these three perspectives by minute degrees, Bracher and translator Morris render a sophisticated, multifaceted portrait of a family that endures nevertheless through its decline and the prolonged fallout from the choices they made—or that were left them—through the lives they lived.

An elegant and nuanced meditation on family, class, perception, illness, and death.

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8112-2738-4

Page Count: 176

Publisher: New Directions

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 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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