Stuart’s debut novel is a charming and timely tale of learning to connect in the digital age.


A father discovers that the foundation of his relationship with his son is paved in pixelated blocks.

Alex isn’t sure his marriage will be able to survive his 8-year-old son Sam’s diagnosis of autism. Frustrated by Sam’s frequent outbursts and tantrums, as well as his growing list of social anxieties and quirks, Alex decides to take a break from his chaotic home and shaky marriage; armed with a duffel bag stuffed with his belongings, he'll be crashing at his old friend Dan’s apartment indefinitely. Soon after the separation, Alex loses his job, sending his life further into a tailspin. Though Alex clearly loves his son, he has trouble finding ways to relate to him. When Sam becomes obsessed with the popular video game “Minecraft,” Alex is initially skeptical, worried that having an Xbox in his bedroom will only cause Sam to retreat further into himself. Eventually, though, the two begin playing the game together, and Alex too begins to obsess over it, realizing that instead of driving Sam inward, it is actually helping his development. Every obstacle in life now has an in-game counterpart, an extended metaphor to help Sam cope with frightening dogs, loud noises, and cruel peers. As they work together to build a castle within the game, Sam begins to open up to his father, sharing parts of himself that Alex never thought he’d be able to access. And as much as young Sam is growing and evolving throughout the novel, so is Alex, who lets go of some childhood trauma, dreams of a new future for himself, and explores the possibility of rekindling his relationship with his wife, Jody. The characters are well-developed and vulnerable, learning to navigate and make sense of a world filled with obstacles.

Stuart’s debut novel is a charming and timely tale of learning to connect in the digital age.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-11159-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.


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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