Strikingly deft and nuanced; a writer to watch.

THE BALCONY

In an assured debut, a delicate fretwork of lives, relationships, and secrets is built up over the course of a century—and linked by a manor in an ugly French village.

Opening in 1992 with Brigitte, an American hired to work as an au pair in Benneville, a community outside Paris, this unusual novel in stories introduces a place—the Léger country estate—which will act as the connective tissue to 10 overlapping narratives. This "bourgeois manoir with a façade of buttery limestone that stretched three stories into slate turrets and gables" has weathered architectural looting, wars, suicide, and sacrifice and has been home to entrepreneurs and deserters as well as the people who worked for them. Brigitte finds herself attracted to current owner Hugo, a damaged academic, but this is just one single—if significant—moment in a woman’s search for a life trajectory that fits. An intriguing mix of relationships—flawed men, unsettled women, struggling parents and partners—follows, arranged in nonchronological order, with characters recurring, often moving from a glancing reference to center stage. In “A Place in the Country” we meet the Havre family, whose generations, and scars, crop up in several chapters. Paterfamilias Henri, the village schoolmaster and a hero of the World War II Resistance, is as cold and bullying to his grandsons, Alexis and Emmanuel, as he was to his schizophrenic son, Guy. Alexis, whose adult choices are shaped by a childhood encounter with his uncle Guy, reappears in “Half Life,” and Emmanuel’s daughter, Adèle, appears in both “Tintin in the Antilles,” an insightful snapshot of aging, and the weaker “Ants.” While the author affectingly composes her characters' individual psychologies in slow dabs of detail, the manor’s physicality supplies permanence, its balcony a witness to two of the darkest episodes, and the surrounding forest a penumbra of mystery and continuity.

Strikingly deft and nuanced; a writer to watch.

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-55467-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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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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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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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