Desperately contrived, but the bitchiness is fun in small doses.


Brown’s fiction debut is a bitter comedy about divorce in California’s Silicon Valley, where apparently men are even more ruthless in marriage than in business.

The same day his pharmaceutical company stock rises meteorically, Paul Miller sends his wife, via messenger, a typed note letting her know that he is leaving her for her tennis partner. Forty-nine-year-old Janice is shocked. She and Paul have been married since she became pregnant in college with their first daughter, Margaret, now 29, and she gave up her dreams to become Paul’s perfect wife—or at least a smashing cook and tennis player. The kind of controlled suburban matron who keeps herself and her home in immaculate condition, Janice doesn’t have a clue about her daughters. After spending most of her childhood overweight and unpopular, 14-year-old Lizzie has recently lost weight and become more popular—or at least busy—since she started having sex with any boy who asks. Margaret, who moved to Los Angeles with her actor boyfriend several years ago, much to her parents’ dismay, has driven the boyfriend away and racked up close to $100,000 in debt running a feminist magazine that even she knows is pretentious twaddle. Learning of the impending divorce, Margaret rushes home not to care for her distraught mother but to escape her creditors. Meanwhile, a distraught Janice starts drinking heavily and buying methamphetamines from the pool guy. Then Margaret discovers that Paul is trying to screw Janice out of her share of his wealth—he even attempts bribing Margaret to testify against her mother in court—and she is galvanized into action. Meanwhile, Lizzie, who has joined a Christian youth group and signed an abstinence oath, realizes she is pregnant. Janice and her daughters bicker and keep secrets from each other but eventually they unite against Paul, who, like most of the male characters, is a total jerk.

Desperately contrived, but the bitchiness is fun in small doses.

Pub Date: May 27, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-385-52401-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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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.


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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