Reliably entertaining and intelligent, Ginder is an excellent tour guide for both the sunny Greek islands and the darker...

HONESTLY, WE MEANT WELL

A trip to Greece with a family on the rocks.

Ginder (The People We Hate at the Wedding, 2017, etc.) is back with a speedy follow-up to his last wickedly funny concoction, again sending his characters abroad. Meet the Wright family of Berkeley, California: Husband Dean is a beloved American novelist with a cushy academic job at UC Berkeley; wife Sue Ellen teaches classics; their gay son, Will, 23, is unhappily failing to follow in his father's footsteps, struggling through his college fiction workshops. All are coping with the fallout of Dean's recent adultery (the one they know about, anyway). When Sue Ellen is asked to give a lecture to a tour group on the Greek island of Aegina, where she did her doctoral research, she jumps at the chance for a break. Aegina represents a poignant road not taken in her life, and even though her old flame has since died (too bad, he could have really kicked things up a notch), she is eager to return. But what's this? Dean and Will insist on coming with her. Combining farcical elements with more earnest plotlines, the novel never quite achieves liftoff. Ginder is at his best when he's over the top—a Swedish bottled beverage tastes like "compost, mixed with gull shit and spoiled chocolate milk"; Sue Ellen's lecture, as best her husband can peg it, involves "geriatrics gathering with their walkers at the temple's steps, and Sue Ellen speaking as the sun dipped into the Aegean, and her stopping just in time for everyone to have a glass of cheap chardonnay before Zeus, or Poseidon, or Shiva, or whoever ripped a tear in the space-time continuum and carried them all away to that plush, easily navigable retirement home in the sky." Along with the romantic subplots—which are sad—there are not one but two cases of literary plagiarism in the novel. It must be contagious; it's turning up everywhere.

Reliably entertaining and intelligent, Ginder is an excellent tour guide for both the sunny Greek islands and the darker channels of the human heart.

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14315-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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