Overwritten, lugubrious and self-consciously oblique.

IODINE

Kimmel (The Used World, 2007, etc.) tells the story of an unbalanced Indiana college girl who may have been abused in childhood.

The novel’s first sentence, “I never had sex with my father but I would have, if he had agreed,” sets the tone. Trace Pennington, who goes to college under the name Ianthe Covington, drops a seminar on “the wounded woman.” It’s a good label for the burgeoning genre of novels like Kimmel’s about brilliant, beautiful, abused females. Trace is certainly the classic “wounded woman” heroine: She’s poor; she’s goth lovely with striking eyes; she keeps a dream journal; she lives in an abandoned farmhouse; and she’s first in her class. Oh, and she may be insane. Trace shares her sordid past in bits and pieces along with large helpings of psychological theorizing heavy on Freud, Jung and James Hillman but also ranging from Greek mythology to Carl Sagan. Occasionally Trace sneaks back to her hometown to visit her friend Candy, who lives in a broken-down trailer with her kids. Candy confides she’s been visited by aliens—the same way Trace may have been as a child; one night she was found wandering outside in the woods by her house. Trace sometimes explains her wandering as the aftermath of an encounter with aliens. She also claims to have been tortured by members of her mother’s church as part of an exorcism ceremony. The youngest of three children, Trace clearly considers her mother cruel and abusive, her father a broken saint. In her final year in college, Trace becomes passionately involved with Jacob, a psychology professor who marries her and molds her into a proper faculty wife. Although Trace isn’t sure whether Jacob, whose first wife disappeared, is a Pygmalion or a Bluebeard in her life, readers will suspect that he is just a pretentious jerk. After a stay in the hospital Trace begins to put the jigsaw pieces of her past into some kind of order. Or not.

Overwritten, lugubrious and self-consciously oblique.

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4165-7284-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2008

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

REGRETTING YOU

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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