A razor-sharp, oddly fun but sometimes clunky romp through the American West.


A borderline recluse in California with a few mental problems embarks on a road trip to her psychologist’s wedding in this novel.

Anna Beck suffers from an uncommon condition. She has trichotillomania, a disorder that leads her to pull every hair out of her body. She also has obsessive-compulsive disorder, so accomplishing ordinary tasks can be quite difficult. Nonetheless, she possesses a witty and sardonic sense of humor and goes to great lengths to tackle her problems. As a germophobe, she finds a laundromat called the Fluffitorium disgusting, so she arranges with the owner to clean the place after it closes so she can disinfect it while free from other people contaminating the premises. As it happens, she met her psychologist, Dr. Edward Denture, at the Fluffitorium when he boldly used her reserved washing machines (“I know that’s an unusual place to meet someone who would change the course of your life, but we both had run out of underwear,” Anna muses). Now, an envelope arrives in the mail, inviting Anna to Edward’s wedding in Colorado. Six months before, she thought she was in love, or at least lust, with Edward but now he is engaged to April Fennimore-Klein. With Anna’s disorders, travel is next to impossible but she cannot fathom Edward’s getting married and wants to stop the wedding. She coerces her friend Petra into securing a car for her, and then, armed with an inordinate amount of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, puts her wig on straight and heads out on the road. Things go smoothly for a while, but a bizarre, transient mother and daughter latch on to Anna, throwing her already madcap life into further disarray. The protagonist’s acerbic wit and mordant tone work well in the difficult material in Preble’s unconventional road novel. With a downstairs neighbor from Flatbush, Brooklyn, added to the mix, Anna’s small world is full of biting humor effectively used to deal with personal pain, and it keeps the story from getting too heavy. Flashbacks to sessions with Edward are handled well and have insightful moments, though Anna’s reticence to reveal things slows the tale down a bit. Unfortunately, the only other major characters, the troubled mother and daughter, are mostly an annoyance until the story is too far along for it to matter.

A razor-sharp, oddly fun but sometimes clunky romp through the American West.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64307-136-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Mascot Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2020

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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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


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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