A fantastic first novel that asks if the kids are alright, finding answers in the most unexpected places.

THE FAMILY FANG

The grown children of a couple infamous for their ostentatious performance art are forced to examine their own creativity and flaws in the shadow of their unusual upbringing.

In this first novel, Wilson (stories: Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, 2009) turns his attention to a subversive family of artists. In fact, his titular subjects are so dedicated to their art that, whether they know it or not, they’re perpetually in the midst of an emerging improvisation. The so-called mentors in this little play are Caleb and Camille Fang, two performance artists whose dedication to their craft is largely lost on their children, Annie and Buster. “Mr. and Mrs. Fang called it art. Their children called it mischief,” the opening lines proclaim. But what sounds like all sorts of fun to the parents—a particularly acid stunt on a childhood vacation involves Mr. Fang proposing to Mrs. Fang on the inbound airplane, soliciting many happy returns from fellow passengers and then ruining the return flight with a cheerless reversal—has long-term consequences on the kids. The novel flashes back and forth between Annie and Buster’s roller-coaster ride of a childhood (one example: the Fangs manipulating the adolescent Buster and Annie into playing the leads in a school production of Romeo and Juliet), and their odd half-life as adults. Annie has become an emerging movie star. When a role demands full-frontal nudity, she acts out with such outrageousness that she becomes tabloid fodder. When Buster, a once-successful writer, is injured during an ill-chosen freelance assignment, he finds himself with no other choice but to return to the family fold. The subtlety of the comedy is flawless, channeling the filmmaking of Wes Anderson or Rian Johnson.  

A fantastic first novel that asks if the kids are alright, finding answers in the most unexpected places.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-157903-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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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...

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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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