A enjoyable read with little substance.

JOODY

Intertwining stories chronicle the life and misspent times of a negligent mother.

Joody—she changed the spelling in school so she’d come before girls with the name’s conventional rendering—is a careless narcissist who leaves a path of emotional destruction behind her. Besides ex-boyfriends and her sister, victims include three living children and one dead baby whom she delivers at home, wraps in a blanket and stuffs in a cupboard, heading off to work after placing the placenta in the trash. “What about the baby?” her straight-arrow sister, Janet, asks. “It just kind of slipped out,” Joody replies. This tale of a dysfunctional American family comes into focus through the eyes of four narrators, including Joody herself; her sister; Joody’s confused, angry son, Bryce; and his concerned but alienated probable-father, Brent. Through each lens, readers view a slightly different aspect of this troubling but seemingly untroubled woman—a “floozy,” in her sister’s words, since “slut and whore are too harsh.” Although the technique of telling a tale from different points of view has worked for masters like Faulkner and Bierce, here it falls short. For one thing, the voices all sound the same, with comma splices being just one mannerism each narrator shares. Nevertheless, the book draws poignant if sketchy pictures of a strained relationship between the night-and-day sisters and a son and father trying to act their roles. Joody’s character is believable: Like many crazies, she has a sure instinct for self-preservation, often independent of survival for those around her. “No matter the verb, she was the object,” her sister observes. Yet for a potentially heavy subject, the book has a peculiar lightness, and Joody’s own take on the situation can be downright funny. Her sister and nerdy boyfriend, for instance, are “dweebs in heat.” Despite some entertaining lines, the book never really wades beyond the emotional shallows. To its credit, though, it doesn’t moralize about Joody’s condition. To its detriment, it doesn’t fully explore or explain it.

A enjoyable read with little substance.

Pub Date: April 22, 2011

ISBN: 978-1456336554

Page Count: 118

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2013

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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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