HEART BONES

A thoughtful exploration of how poverty impacts people's choices and blurs the lines between good and bad behavior.

A 19-year-old Kentucky girl—the product of a one-night stand—finds her addict mother dead and ends up spending the summer in Texas with her father and his family.

After a lifetime of active neglect from her mother, Beyah Grim comes home one day from her shift at McDonald’s to find her dead on the sofa, needle still in her arm. All the child support money sent by her father has been spent on her mother’s addictions. The system has failed her. She taught herself to use a stove at age 6 and did whatever was necessary throughout her life to make sure there was food on the table. She's vowed never to become like her mother, and volleyball is her way out—all she needs is a place to stay for two months until her full ride to Penn State begins on Aug. 3. So when she's quickly evicted from the trailer she and her mother shared, she calls her father; he books her a ticket on the earliest possible flight to Houston. When she arrives, she discovers that Alana, her father’s wife of a year, has a daughter named Sara who's just a little older than Beyah and a summer house on the beach on Bolivar Peninsula, where Beyah and her father head straight from the airport. Once Beyah settles in, Sara and her boyfriend, Marcos, begin trying to set her up with their friend Samson. Pegging the guy as a rich douchebag, Beyah soon realizes there's more to him that he lets on and that despite his purported wealth he is just as damaged as her. This is the story of a summer love affair as Beyah and Samson get to know one another, sharing their darkest secrets until Samson’s past catches up with him. Hoover spends a lot of time dissecting class prejudices against a gossamer backdrop of summer love that evolves to become much more.

A thoughtful exploration of how poverty impacts people's choices and blurs the lines between good and bad behavior.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9781668021910

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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