The subject of parents charging past every ethical restraint in pursuit of crème de la crème education could not be more...

THE GIFTED SCHOOL

Four close friends, their husbands, their children, their housecleaners—and one application-only magnet school that will drive them all over the brink.

A Boulder-esque town in the Front Range of the Rockies, Crystal, Colorado, is a progressive paradise where four entwined families are raising their children, though death, divorce, and drugs have taken their toll on the group since the moms met at baby swim class years back. The women give each other mugs with friendship quotes each year on the anniversary of that meeting, and they get together every Friday morning for a 4-mile run, "a ritual carved into the flinty stone of their lives…shared since they'd first started trimming up again after the births of their children." Beneath the surface, resentments are already simmering—one family is far wealthier than the others; the widowed mom is a neurotic mess; one of the couples didn't make it through elementary school and he's remarried to "a hot young au pair who was great with the twins [and] a willing partner in mindblowing carnality." Then comes the announcement of a public magnet school for exceptional learners, with a standardized test as the first step in separating the wheat from the chaff. The novel's depiction of the ensuing devolution is grounded in acute social observation—class, race, privilege, woke and libertarian politics—then hits the mark on the details as well. From the bellowing of the dads on the soccer field to the oversharing in the teenager's vlog, down to the names of the kids themselves—twins Aidan and Charlie Unsworth-Chaudhury; best friends Emma Z and Emma Q; nerdy chessmaster Xander Frye—Holsinger's (The Invention of Fire, 2015) pitch is close to perfect.

The subject of parents charging past every ethical restraint in pursuit of crème de la crème education could not be more timely, and the Big Little Lies treatment creates a deliciously repulsive and eerily current page-turner.

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53496-9

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

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: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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

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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