A fun look at family drama on the open seas.


A family embarks on a cruise together—but will the weight of their secrets sink the whole ship?

Elise Feldman Connelly knows she has a problem. She can’t stop shopping even though she’s blown through her family’s savings and obliterated her son’s college fund. She just has to keep her addiction a secret from her husband, Mitch, until she can figure out a solution. But when Elise’s mother, Annette, insists the entire family go on a cruise together for her 70th birthday, it becomes clear that Elise isn’t the only one with a secret. Elise’s father is hiding an illness, Mitch is contemplating a career change, and both of Elise’s children have their own complicated lives. Perhaps the biggest secret is being kept by Elise’s brother, Freddy, whom everyone assumes is nothing more than an aging stoner. He’s actually the head of a hugely successful marijuana company, a fact he hasn’t shared with the uptight Feldmans. While Annette just wanted her whole family together under one roof, keeping everyone happy on a cruise ship plagued with crowds, bad food, and forced fun proves to be almost impossible. As family resentment simmers and eventually blows up, the Feldmans learn that maybe they all have more in common than they thought. Friedland (The Intermission, 2018, etc.) creates vivid characters with distinct voices, from the outwardly critical matriarch to the insecure teenager. The story is at its best when the whole family is together, allowing their individual personalities to bounce off one another. There's also some sharp commentary about the pitfalls of cruises, and even readers who've never been on one will feel positively claustrophobic as they read about the cramped cabins the Feldmans stay in.

A fun look at family drama on the open seas.

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-58689-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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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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