A thoughtful and gripping family tale that will haunt readers long after finishing it.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2021

HE GETS THAT FROM ME

A novel takes a deep dive into what goes wrong—and right—between a surrogate mother and the gay couple whose fertilized eggs she carries.

Donovan Gallo-Rigsdale and Chip Rigsdale have a solid marriage and now really want children. They engage Maggie Wingate to carry their fertilized eggs to term. This she does; all goes smoothly; and Donovan and Chip become the proud parents of Kai and Teddy. But a DNA test done some years later shows no genetic connection between Donovan and Kai. The egg he fertilized did not attach itself, and Kai is in fact the son of Maggie and her husband, Nick, conceived shortly after she accepted the donor eggs. This is extremely rare but is possible. To say that this news is cataclysmic is an understatement. Donovan and Chip have proved to be wonderful parents, but so are Maggie and Nick. The real tragedy—and strength—of this riveting story is that there are no villains here. The battle over Kai begins, the point of view toggling between Maggie and Donovan. Friedland is a very talented writer who creates rounded characters and gets deep into their heads: “The window” in Maggie’s brain “becomes a door, then a long hallway…into an enormous stadium, an arena, filled with” a certain dawning understanding. Maggie understands how much Donovan must love Kai, but the child is her own flesh and blood, and she and Nick have always wanted a brother for their son, Wyatt. Donovan has the added fear that the judge overseeing the case might be homophobic. But Donovan is no less of a fighter. And Donovan and Maggie are clashing not over a pet or a painting but a sensitive and very bright human being. It would seem that Kai is just as torn as his parents. Indeed, the underlying question in a case like this has to be what really, besides biology, defines a parent. (It is hard to imagine a better novel for a book club discussion.) The conclusion to all this comes with an absolutely stunning revelation.

A thoughtful and gripping family tale that will haunt readers long after finishing it.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68-463097-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: SparkPress

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 29

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more