A dark, intense novel on a hot subject: female friendship complicated by class and privilege. Very good.

SILVER GIRL

A girl from a background of poverty and abuse becomes best friends at college with a wealthy classmate, from whom she hides everything about her life.

Pietrzyk’s (The Angel on My Chest, 2015, etc.) fourth work of fiction is set in the early 1980s in Chicago, a city then terrorized by the Tylenol Killer, who put cyanide in random capsules and returned them to drugstore shelves, killing seven people. We meet the unnamed narrator moving into her dorm freshman year: just looking at her roommate’s stuff fills her with bitterness. She has few possessions, no money, and no supportive family, having come alone on an overnight bus from Iowa with a cardboard suitcase. Then a girl comes in to borrow masking tape: Jess. “Where’d you come from, anyways?” she asks. The narrator replies that she’s the devil’s daughter and she comes from hell. It’s a joke, but it’s as much of the truth as she’ll ever tell (though the reader will hear it all). Jess is instantly enchanted. “I love you already,” she says, and the narrator marvels at how she said it “easily and simply, like tossing a beanbag to a child.” Creating an alternate self who is not penniless and damaged, she makes herself indispensable to Jess and soon is being invited to dinners and shopping with her parents, to their home. But the size of the hole inside this girl is incalculable; she needs much more than she is given, and sometimes Jess is stingy. When Jess’ sister dies in a car accident, when the Tylenol Killer strikes someone connected to their lives, the narrator becomes ever more entangled in Jess’ family. They rely on her. They think she is a simple, well-mannered girl, quiet and helpful. But the reader has seen into her past, knows her uncle, her little sister, her father, and all that happened back in Iowa. She is anything but.

A dark, intense novel on a hot subject: female friendship complicated by class and privilege. Very good.

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944700-51-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Unnamed Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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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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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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