An admirably big-picture, multivalent family saga.


An affluent New York family is flung into a tailspin in 2009 in the third novel by Beha (Arts and Entertainments, 2014, etc.).

Beha is the editor of Harper’s, and this story evokes the spirit of two famous essays the magazine published championing the social novel: Tom Wolfe’s “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast” and Jonathan Franzen’s “Why Bother?” Its young hero, Sam, has arrived from Wisconsin to write about the intersection of hard data and news for a storied publication. The job introduces him to the Doyle family, whose patriarch, Frank, is a longtime baseball writer and political pundit who recently disgraced himself making racist comments about Barack Obama on air at a Mets game. Doyle’s wife, Kit, is an investment banker pummeled by the Great Recession; their son, Eddie, is an Iraq War vet who’s overly enchanted with a street preacher, and their daughter, Margo, is making little progress on her dissertation on Wordsworth. The Doyles give Beha ample opportunity to expound on media, sports, religion, war, finance, and the arts; Justin, a Black hedge fund manager noblesse-obliged by the Doyles, is a pathway to riff on race while Sam’s wife, Lucy, lets him explore marriage. The novel can feel a tick too orderly, as Beha carefully maintains his large cast and big themes. But each character is engaging and full-blooded, and Beha pushes them hard: He’s concerned with how irrationality worms its way into everybody’s lives (via infidelity, faith, insider trading, plagiarism, addiction) and how that irrationality can undermine us and push us closer to understanding ourselves. “We hated nothing more than indisputable evidence, because we wanted to dispute,” Beha writes. And though the novel’s tone is more intellectual than what Wolfe and Franzen prescribed, its breadth, ambition, and command are refreshing.

An admirably big-picture, multivalent family saga.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947793-82-8

Page Count: 528

Publisher: Tin House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

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


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?