A tense, startling book of true beauty and insight. Proof that the oldest of stories contain within them the seeds of our...

EVERYTHING UNDER

A retelling of Oedipus Rex set in the insular community of the boat people who live along the canals of Oxford.

Gretel was raised in the sole company of her mother, Sarah, on an engineless houseboat moored in a quiet part of the River Thames. Their relationship is intensely iconoclastic and isolated: They haul their own water, fish for much of their food, speak a language peppered with made-up words, school each other with entries from Sarah's encyclopedia. One winter, dogs, cats, and even children begin to go missing from the communities that live on the river. Sarah and 13-year-old Gretel believe it is the work of an uncanny creature they call the Bonak, and, with the help of a wandering boy named Marcus, they determine to trap and kill it. Now Gretel is an adult working as a lexicographer, and Sarah—who abandoned her into foster care 16 years earlier—has come back into her life in an even wilder and more unpredictable form. Sarah's phone call making contact sends Gretel on a quest into her own past: First to find Sarah, then to find Marcus, and finally to confront the Bonak, a creature made flesh by her and her mother's own fears. The book is structured in interwoven sections which alternate among Gretel's first-person perspective and the close-third-person narration of Sarah and Marcus, whose timelines take place in the past. As the truth about Marcus' identity becomes clearer, the haze that surrounds Sarah—a reimagining of Jocasta—deepens. However, where the original tale focuses on the torment of Oedipus himself, here the mother's rage, her despair, and her progressive disassociation from the known world are the centerpieces of the story. Sarah's past leaves lurid scars across her daughter's psyche as the book delves into what it means to live in a world that binds us so cruelly to our fate. Johnson's (Fen, 2017) debut novel explores the determinism of its characters’ choices even as it asserts the fluidity of their genders and their relationships with each other, in prose that harmonizes with the haunting wasteland of its setting—a place where what is discarded takes on new identity if not new life.

A tense, startling book of true beauty and insight. Proof that the oldest of stories contain within them the seeds of our future selves.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55597-826-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Graywolf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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...

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

REGRETTING YOU

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

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