A pro sports bildungsroman with the excitement of a Federer-Nadal match but none of its grace.

TROPHY SON

A tennis prodigy struggles with his overbearing father and what it truly means to win.

Brunt, who in previous novels has tackled finance (Ghost of Manhattan, 2012) and politics (The Means, 2014), returns with a fast-paced take on the world of pro sports. The novel follows Anton Stratis, the son of two former Olympic athletes, and chronicles his life and career as a tennis player, from auspicious beginnings as a child prodigy to his triumphs and failures on the pro circuit. Anton’s path is never an easy one, beset by girl troubles, performance-enhancing drugs, and, above all, the specter of his domineering father, whose presence hovers over every scene and who pushes Anton to succeed at the expense of his own happiness. For all the thrilling tennis matches he depicts, Brunt ultimately cares less about whether his protagonist will find success on the court than about whether he will ever find peace off it. In his struggle to find self-actualization and happiness, however, Anton is never quite a believable character, and the conflict he faces between his own desires and his father's win-at-all-costs mentality never feels like anything more than a narrative contrivance. Indeed, the novel as a whole, while never dull, suffers from a persistent heavy-handedness in tone and plotting. Elements like an oft-mentioned rival feel thinly sketched, present only because prior sports fiction necessitated their inclusion, and dialogue alternates between cringeworthy and merely wooden, with turgid, on-the-nose lines like, “But a person is happy in his life only if he finds meaning in it, and meaning in life is positively correlated with choice in life. While I wasn’t conscious of that fact then, I suffered from it unknowingly,” appearing far too often.

A pro sports bildungsroman with the excitement of a Federer-Nadal match but none of its grace.

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-11480-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more