Miller (Brand New Human Being, 2012) is refreshing in her approach to abortion, but too many coincidences and parallels in...


This earnest domestic drama set on Cape Cod covers all three bases of family relationships—siblings, spouses, parents and children—as well as the left field of uncle and nieces.

When he finds himself jobless, homeless, and single, 42-year-old Vance comes to stay in the childhood home where his twin brother, Craig, still lives with his second wife, Gina, their two young children, and Craig’s 17-year-old daughter from his first marriage, Amanda. Vance, the seemingly more sensitive if less responsible brother, envies and resents straight-arrow Craig’s relative success, but no one in this family is happy or exactly likable, and each harbors a store of secrets, guilt, moral dilemmas, and resentments. More than $250,000 in debt, builder Craig is desperately counting on two not-quite-solid projects to bail himself out. He also still blames himself for the death of Amanda’s mother in a diving accident 11 years ago. Gina, a Harvard grad with design aspirations, is dissatisfied merely running a boutique. Frustrated in her marriage to uncommunicative Craig, she's tempted into flirtation with the twins’ longtime friend Dov, who plans to have Craig build his new restaurant. The biggest secret of all, and the one that affects everyone eventually, is held by Amanda. Already accepted to Dartmouth (natch, in this novel full of Ivy Leaguers and rich-people problems), she was caught smoking pot at school after her boyfriend, incidentally Dov’s son, dumped her; instead of being expelled, she was sent to Chile, where she met a guy and got “in trouble.” She’s desperate not to be pregnant, but her father is against abortion for reasons from his youth that he is not sharing. Meanwhile, Vance runs into his old high school girlfriend, coincidentally the riding teacher of his poignantly underappreciated 6-year-old niece, Helen, and the guilty secret that has haunted him since their breakup surfaces.

Miller (Brand New Human Being, 2012) is refreshing in her approach to abortion, but too many coincidences and parallels in plot and character connections weaken the novel.

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-547-73441-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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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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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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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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