THE RUNAWAY WIFE

Birkelund (The Dressmaker, 2006) takes readers on an improbable journey in the Bernese Alps.

Jim Olsen is a Midwesterner, steady and reliable. When his fiancee dumps him after he’s been laid off, he takes his first vacation in years with an old friend, Ambrose. At a hikers’ “hutte,” they meet three sisters, Thalia, Helene, and Clio, who ask the men's help in finding their mother, Calliope (yes, they're named for muses, but they do not give Jim any inspiration other than to act irrationally), so they can return to their own busy lives. Lulled by wine and flirtation, “Jim didn’t think; he just said the words: ‘I’ll do it.’ ” He and Ambrose look for Calliope and then, even though it’s foolish to hike alone in a strange place, Jim leaves Ambrose to continue the search, despite having a new job waiting for him in New York. Calliope has eluded her powerful husband’s search helicopters all summer, but Jim finds her quickly, aided by a local man who has been helping her hide. Things get even more unlikely as the story zigzags toward its climax and coasts to a lackluster conclusion. Jim’s motivation is unclear, his disregard for hiking safety in a place and season when precaution is everything is unrealistic, and Calliope doesn’t do anything to convince readers of the value of his quest. The sisters’ appearances at the beginning and end of the book are fleeting and similarly unconvincing. The characters are worse than unrelatable, which can sometimes be interesting; they are unreal. A strange story that can’t transcend the weird improbabilities that propel it and the out-of-this-world behavior of the characters who populate it.

Pub Date: July 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-243175-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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

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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