Fans of Frangello’s work will enjoy this intricate portrait of the connections between an immigrant Latino family and...


A twisted novel of family—the kinds we’re stuck with and the kinds we make—which poses big questions about love, fidelity, and parenthood.

Told in the voices of four characters involved in an ambitious fertility scheme, Frangello's (A Life in Men, 2014, etc.) novel catalogs the interconnected lives and marriages of four Chicago couples. There’s Lina, a former stripper contemplating leaving her longtime lover, Bebe—an academic “femi-nazi” and dom—for a wastrel playwright. Her brother, Miguel, is haunted by their abusive childhood in Caracas and afraid of failing at fatherhood despite the support of his well-to-do husband, Chad. Before long, the Guerra siblings become drawn into the world of white privilege exemplified by Chad’s WASPy, upper-crust family, including his vulnerable sister, Gretchen. When Gretchen agrees to donate her eggs to Chad and Miguel so they can raise a longed-for baby, she unwittingly sets off a chain of events that will detonate crisis after family crisis. Poor Gretchen is gaslit by her grasping and abusive husband, Troy, all the while distrusting the intentions of Chad and Miguel’s surrogate, Emily, a high school friend of Miguel’s whose home life is crumbling around her. As the characters reveal where their true loyalties lie—with their spouses or lovers, the families they have or the ones they long for—Frangello’s novel begins to fray at the seams of her ambitious plot. With a surfeit of melodrama, it can be hard to discern where the emotional center of Frangello’s narratives lies. The complicated viper’s nest of the “community baby” receives the bulk of her attention, while glimpses into the Guerras’ painful family secrets offer the possibility of greater depth. Still, this novel boldly attempts to address the intricacies of immigration, race, class, and sexuality that shape the contemporary American family—even if the plot raises more questions than it answers.

Fans of Frangello’s work will enjoy this intricate portrait of the connections between an immigrant Latino family and moneyed North Shore magnates.

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61902-722-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.


When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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