Turn off the phone, lock the door and order takeout before opening this sweet, straight-through read that leaves no loose...

WHILE I’M FALLING

Moriarty (The Rest of Her Life, 2007, etc.) slips inside the skin of a premed student disoriented by her parents’ divorce and her own fumbling attempts to live up to others’ expectations.

Veronica Von Holten’s father, a lawyer who raided his retirement when times grew lean, and her mother Natalie, a stay-at-home mom who had once been a teacher, separate after Dad catches a strange man asleep in his own bed. After the family house is sold in the divorce proceedings, Natalie takes the ancient and often incontinent family dog Bowzer away in her minivan with the rest of her possessions. Now strapped for money, she struggles to support herself in a world that no longer considers her skills valid or useful. Meanwhile, Veronica’s life turns inside out. She’s struggling with an organic-chemistry class that might as well be Mandarin for all the sense it makes to her; her rock-steady engineering-student boyfriend Tim wants her to move in with him; and she stinks at her job as a Resident Advisor in the dorm. Without a car and longing for some privacy, Veronica leaps at the chance to housesit for one of the more dubious campus characters: a guy named Jimmy, who has piercings, a shaved head, a mysterious, possibly illegal source of income and an oddly familiar girlfriend. Things don’t go quite as Veronica hopes they will, and soon she’s nursing a headache, heartache and bad attitude that she will later come to regret. Moriarty deftly explores the shifting ground between Veronica and each of her parents, but it is the familiar turf of mother-daughter relationships that primarily engages her. In her careful and knowing hands, Veronica, Natalie and the rest emerge as characters readers will care about.

Turn off the phone, lock the door and order takeout before opening this sweet, straight-through read that leaves no loose ends dangling.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4013-0272-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2009

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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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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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