Suspenseful, moving, and full of inspiration and insight about parenting a child with autism.


A couple driven to desperation by the challenges of raising an extraordinary 13-year-old and her younger sister moves off the grid with a charismatic parenting guru.

From the first sentences of this unusual and compelling novel—“In another world, you make it work. In another world, you never even hear the name ‘Scott Bean’ ”—pages turn with the momentum of an emotional thriller. But Parkhurst (The Nobodies Album, 2011, etc.) offers much more than the gradual dealing out of the disaster that awaits the Hammond family after they give up their lives in Washington, D.C., to move to a wilderness camp in New Hampshire led by maverick autism counselor Scott Bean. The characters of Alexandra Hammond, her husband, Josh, and their daughters, Tilly and Iris, go straight to your heart via three intertwined narrative threads. One belongs to Iris, 11: the story of what happens at Camp Harmony unfolds through her sharp, Harriet-the-Spy–esque eyes. Each family has one kid who’s different, she realizes, though they are different in very different ways; she’s the “normal” one, the “good” one. When she overhears her mother describe her as “NT” she hopes it means something like Natural Talent; it’s disappointing to find out it’s just “neurotypical.” Alexandra tells the story of the family’s life leading up to the move: her marriage to her teenage sweetheart, the births of their daughters, the realization of Tilly’s difference, the ever growing stress associated with it. “Here are some of the things you’re not posting on Facebook during February of 2010: Alexandra Moss Hammond’s daughter has changed the name of Shel Silverstein’s poetry collection to 'Where the Pussy Ends.' Alexandra Hammond’s daughter just said in the post office, 'Your tits are huge. Did I really used to suck on those?' " A third series of chapters is written by Tilly at some unspecified future date, brilliant, funny, and beautiful monologues that show how deeply Parkhurst understands what she’s writing about.

Suspenseful, moving, and full of inspiration and insight about parenting a child with autism.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-56260-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



A flabby, fervid melodrama of a high-strung Southern family from Conroy (The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline), whose penchant for overwriting once again obscures a genuine talent. Tom Wingo is an unemployed South Carolinian football coach whose internist wife is having an affair with a pompous cardiac man. When he hears that his fierce, beautiful twin sister Savannah, a well-known New York poet, has once again attempted suicide, he escapes his present emasculation by flying north to meet Savannah's comely psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein. Savannah, it turns out, is catatonic, and before the suicide attempt had completely assumed the identity of a dead friend—the implication being that she couldn't stand being a Wingo anymore. Susan (a shrink with a lot of time on her hands) says to Tom, "Will you stay in New York and tell me all you know?" and he does, for nearly 600 mostly-bloated pages of flashbacks depicting The Family Wingo of swampy Colleton County: a beautiful mother, a brutal shrimper father (the Great Santini alive and kicking), and Tom and Savannah's much-admired older brother, Luke. There are enough traumas here to fall an average-sized mental ward, but the biggie centers around Luke, who uses the skills learned as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam to fight a guerrilla war against the installation of a nuclear power plant in Colleton and is killed by the authorities. It's his death that precipitates the nervous breakdown that costs Tom his job, and Savannah, almost, her life. There may be a barely-glimpsed smaller novel buried in all this succotash (Tom's marriage and life as a football coach), but it's sadly overwhelmed by the book's clumsy central narrative device (flashback ad infinitum) and Conroy's pretentious prose style: ""There are no verdicts to childhood, only consequences, and the bright freight of memory. I speak now of the sun-struck, deeply lived-in days of my past.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1986

ISBN: 0553381547

Page Count: 686

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1986

Did you like this book?

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 14

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?