A bittersweet drama that delicately captures the moods of the human spirit.


Two friends attempt to fulfill a request from beyond the grave in this novel.

Months have passed since 62-year-old Paul Marden was released from the hospital after an unidentifiable infection nearly took his life. Now, living on disability payments and his pension in a neighborhood battered by Hurricane Sandy, he grapples every day with the constant pain that pervades his body. Struggling to walk home one evening, he takes a ride from a familiar-seeming stranger: Lelee Connors, a transgender woman who was once his childhood neighbor. As the two develop a friendship, Lelee reveals that she has the extraordinary ability to communicate with the dead. Despite her peaceful lifestyle, her reputation and well-being are being threatened by a man named Michael Odenkirk, the host of a television show that focuses on defaming psychically gifted individuals. When Lelee channels the spirit of a 1960s radio host known as Happy Howie, he explains that his own career was destroyed by Odenkirk, who publicized his identity as a gay man and falsely suggested that he was a child molester. Howie implores Paul and Lelee to help him clear his name and enact justice. Meanwhile, Paul is occupied with his elderly father, who has dementia. Although their relationship was precarious in his youth, Paul desperately wants him to have a good quality of life. Unfortunately, Paul has strong doubts about the level of care his father is receiving in his nursing home. The expressive quality of Lerman’s (The Stargazer’s Embassy, 2017, etc.) writing reflects her prodigious experience as a poet. The narrative touches on a number of complex topics, including the relationship between transgender individuals and the rest of the LGBTQ community, the state of care for those in assisted living facilities, and the impact of the media, in a way that feels organic and true to life. Lelee’s characterization is especially intricate: She proves to be poised, intelligent, and kind but intensely frustrated and quickly angered by insensitivity. As the characters move through their daily routines, there remains an evocative awareness of their mortality.

A bittersweet drama that delicately captures the moods of the human spirit.

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-57962-575-7

Page Count: 217

Publisher: Permanent Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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

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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

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