The Great American Pandemic Novel only Shteyngart could write, full of hyphenated identities, killer prose, and wild...

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OUR COUNTRY FRIENDS

The Levin-Senderovskys—Sasha, Masha, and little Natasha—wait out the virus at their country estate with four close friends and one movie star.

One of Sasha Senderovsky's fondest memories of his childhood is the bungalow colony catering to Russian immigrant families where he first met his wife, Masha. With the proceeds of his once-successful writing career, he has built a colony of his own, though it's in an area of New York state where a deconstructed swastika is becoming a popular bumper sticker, and he's having trouble scraping together the cash to get the dead tree limbs out of the driveway before the party starts. Karen Cho and Vinod Mehta have been his best friends since high school. She's stratospherically rich after creating an app that makes people fall in love; he's failed at everything except being a very good person and loving Karen ceaselessly from afar. They are joined by Karen's distant cousin, an international dandy named Ed; Senderovsky's beautiful former student Dee, who leverages her Southern drawl and heritage to great effect on and off the page; and someone known only as the Actor, whose fame, charisma, and good looks are almost beyond description. Except Shteyngart, most recently of the fantastic Lake Success(2018) and most famously of Super Sad True Love Story (2010), can describe anything. Russian: "a language built around the exhalation of warmth and pain." Cheeses: "so filled with aromatic herbs they inspired (on Senderovsky's part) memories that had never happened." One could go on. When the curtain rises on the House on the Hill, as the place is known, it's early March 2020; Senderovsky has to ask his guests to refrain from hugging because "Masha's gone all epidemiological." Everyone seems to gather that they'll be staying for a while, but, of course, they have no idea. Uncle Vanya, K-pop, and Japanese reality TV will all play important roles, and just about everyone gets to fall in love.

The Great American Pandemic Novel only Shteyngart could write, full of hyphenated identities, killer prose, and wild vitality.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984855-12-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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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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