A provocative first novel filled to the brim with dazzling language, mystery, and a profound belief in the human capacity to...

IDAHO

Ruskovich’s debut opens to the strains of a literary thriller but transforms into a lyrical meditation on memory, loss, and grief in the American West.

Ann, a young music teacher, falls in love with Wade Mitchell, the father of two girls in her school, over piano lessons. That summer, Wade’s family is ripped apart by a tragedy that leaves one daughter dead, another missing, and Wade’s now-ex-wife, Jenny, serving a life sentence for murder. Against all odds, Ann and Wade marry, and she tries to soothe her new husband’s insurmountable grief by piecing together what happened that day. Her efforts are thwarted by Wade’s creeping dementia, which has a tendency to turn violent. Ann is left with only the powers of her imagination to reconstruct an account of the murder, putting her personal safety at risk as Wade becomes less predictable. Like memory, Ann's shifting vision of that day is fleeting, ephemeral, and imperfect, scattered as easily as "dozens of blackbirds, startled at nothing." In fact, her emotional porousness might be a key for the entire novel, which hopscotches across more than 50 years and multiple perspectives to draw connections, parallels, and portraits of the men and women who populate Ruskovich’s Idaho. We also catch glimpses of Elizabeth, Jenny’s cellmate; Wade’s fractured recollections of his childhood and first marriage; the final days of May, Wade’s murdered daughter; and, at long last, Jenny herself. Ruskovich builds poetry out of observing the smallest details—moments of narrative precision and clarity that may not illuminate what happened the day of the murder but which push the reader to interrogate the limits of empathy. Fans of lush, psychological dramas like the BBC miniseries Top of the Lake or Broadchurch have their winter reading cut out for them.

A provocative first novel filled to the brim with dazzling language, mystery, and a profound belief in the human capacity to love and seek forgiveness.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9404-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 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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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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

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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