While Callanan writes about the difficulties of family relationships and the creative process with a knowing hand, the...

PARIS BY THE BOOK

A pointedly literary romance—fueled by two children’s classics—about a Wisconsin woman who moves to Paris with her two daughters after her husband’s disappearance.

From the beginning of their relationship, Robert and Leah shared their separate dreams of Paris. Robert, an author of young adult fiction, has always identified with the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans; former film student Leah, who’s become the family breadwinner as an academic speechwriter, is drawn to the Albert Lamorisse film The Red Balloon. When Robert, struggling with his writing and mental health, disappears without a trace, Leah and her daughters, Ellie and Daphne, then 14 and 12, don't want to believe he's dead but also don’t want to believe he purposely left them. Then Leah finds that Robert has bought them tickets to Paris. Soon she's running a quaint bookstore in the Marais, sending the girls to an excellent French public school, eating wonderful French food, and having various romantic adventures. She is also remembering and analyzing her life with Robert, who remains an unsatisfying enigma to the reader as well as to narrator Leah. Nevertheless, Callanan (Listen, 2015) uses every magnet in his arsenal to draw readers of a certain sensitive literary persuasion: the Parisian bookstore, of course; romance between a 40-something woman and an erudite younger man (who is African-American, for good measure); a helpful, impeccably dressed gay male friend; precocious teenagers who love to read; obvious plot parallels to the children’s classics; and the mystery surrounding a manuscript from the still-missing Robert that follows the storyline of his family in Paris too closely for Leah’s comfort. Is Robert in Paris too? Is he hiding from his family or searching for them? Does Leah want him back, or is she relieved to escape the burden of his unhappiness?

While Callanan writes about the difficulties of family relationships and the creative process with a knowing hand, the magical Paris he creates feels forced and threadbare.

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-98627-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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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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