A surprisingly easy read containing a little romance, a lot of personal growth, and an honest look at weighty topics.

THE BRIGHT SIDE OF GOING DARK

A social media influencer goes through a self-imposed electronics detox while another woman hacks into her online identity in an attempt to distract a family member from thoughts of suicide.

Through Mia Bell’s hard work, @Mia&Mike has become a very, very successful brand. Pictey—a social media app akin to an Instagram/Facebook/Twitter mashup—is her platform, and half a million followers await her near-continuous posts and comments. As Pictey has grown from a startup to an offices-in-168-nations behemoth, so has she, evolving from the struggling owner of a small yoga studio to a well-known motivational influencer. However, in quick succession, Mia’s fiance breaks up with her, she hides that fact from her followers, and she fakes her Colorado wedding. Realizing what she has become, she then throws her phone over a cliff to separate herself completely from the account. Paige Miller, on the other hand, is a very well-paid Pictey standards enforcement and quality assurance team member medicating away her debilitating panic attacks. When Paige’s half sister, Jessica, comments on one of Mia’s posts with suicidal thoughts and follows through with a suicide attempt, a series of against-the-odds coincidences lead Paige to Jessica’s side in Colorado and the problematic decision to hack into Mia’s unusually silent account to impersonate her. Author Harms (The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, 2019, etc.) deals openly and honestly with depression, the aftereffects of attempted suicide, and the benefits of medical treatment. Refreshingly, each character is a true-to-life individual with complicated emotions and unique voices. Most readers will be pleased that the storylines wrap up with grand moments and gestures so that hope and joyfulness in the future are the final notes of this tale; some, on the other hand, might find it overly tidy.

A surprisingly easy read containing a little romance, a lot of personal growth, and an honest look at weighty topics.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2091-6

Page Count: 348

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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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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