This moving story of love that spans a lifetime is Weiner at her heartstring-tugging best.

WHO DO YOU LOVE

Andy and Rachel fall in love and fall apart, over and over, in this emotional outing from Weiner (All Fall Down, 2014, etc.).

Eight-year-old Rachel Blum and Andy Landis meet in a hospital ER—she’s there because of a congenital heart deformity while he’s suffering from a broken arm caused by lack of parental supervision, having fallen off a balcony while doing circus tricks on the railing. They tell each other about the challenges in their young lives—for Rachel, it’s that her surgery makes everyone think she’s fragile, and for Andy, it’s being biracial, which makes him feel like he doesn’t fit in with white or black kids. When they meet again as teenagers, they almost instantly fall in love. But their relationship isn’t without its obstacles—while Rachel is a Jewish upper-middle-class girl, Andy lives in poverty with his single mother. Andy and Rachel break off and rekindle their romance multiple times as he sets his sights on becoming an Olympic runner and she finds her way in her own career in social work. Through marriages, deaths, scandals, and successes, they keep finding their ways back to each other. Does their connection mean they’re meant to be together—or are their differences simply too big to overcome? It’s hard not to get invested in Weiner’s characters, particularly Andy, who struggles to deal with his father's absence, his biracial identity, and feelings of being left out of Rachel’s privileged world. Although some side characters are painted with broad strokes, Andy and Rachel feel fully realized and easy to root for, even when they’re behaving badly and making mistakes. There are plenty of twists and turns (both predictable and surprising) in their relationship, and it’s satisfying to watch them wend their ways toward the novel’s perfectly realized conclusion.

This moving story of love that spans a lifetime is Weiner at her heartstring-tugging best.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4516-1781-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more