With a fearless voice and a diverse array of characters, Dennis’ debut delivers strong prose but tips toward the overly...


Dark, visceral, and wide-ranging, Dennis' debut collection delves into the humanity and pain of highly flawed characters.

In the title story, a young man in prison on a drug charge develops an intimate yet violent relationship with his cellmate. A widowed woman with a self-destructive streak finds herself on a yacht off the coast of Mexico outrunning a tsunami in "In the Martian Summer." "The Book-Eating Ceremony" follows a jaded lesbian academic with a deep resentment for her girlfriend (and her girlfriend’s gaggle of dogs) as she attempts to write a book about misogynist gynecologist Albert H. Decker while grieving her mother and obsessively pining for another woman. In "Nettles," a husband buys a slaughterhouse and moves his family out of the city only for tensions to boil over with his wife and with the religious neighbors he bought it from. "This Is a Galaxy" tracks the son of a gay Turkish immigrant who finds himself violently orphaned and working in a butcher shop. One story, "In Motel Rooms," is told from the point of view of Coretta Scott King, hounded by the FBI and carrying the burdens not only of the Jim Crow South, but of family duties and activist organizing as her husband has an affair. While King is written with more empathy and care than the other female characters in the book, it can be argued that Dennis, a white man, is not the person who should be telling the story of a black woman’s domestic pain. The stories in this collection are often bloody, brutal, and sad. The protagonists’ hopelessness (and the author’s inclination toward the grisly) is clear in one character’s observation that “it felt as if every animal were designed to be disassembled.” The relationships are dysfunctional and the interior lives of the characters scalding, the sex brutal, and the trauma acute. Dark corners of complicated people are on full display.

With a fearless voice and a diverse array of characters, Dennis’ debut delivers strong prose but tips toward the overly morbid.

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64129-036-4

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

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 7, 2014

Did you like this book?

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.


When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?