Only a hardhearted reader will remain immune to Kel’s troubled charm.

HEFT

In musician/novelist Moore’s bifurcated second novel (The Words of Every Song, 2007), the two first-person narrations—from a housebound, grossly overweight former literature professor and a teenager in crisis over his future—never converge although they eventually intersect.

Weighing in at over 500 pounds, Arthur Opp is approaching 60, alone and lonely in the Brooklyn house he hasn’t left for years. Since his only friend has died, he avoids facing the world outside his front door; all his material needs are delivered. He spends his days eating. Then he receives a letter from a former student. When Charlene Turner took Arthur’s class 20 years ago, she was intellectually out of her depth. Yet Arthur recognized a kindred spirit. After one semester she dropped out and he never saw her again; soon after, partly due to unfounded suspicions about their relationship, his own career disintegrated. Now Charlene makes a vague request that Arthur tutor her son. Anticipating her visit, Arthur hires a maid, Yolanda, a pregnant high-school dropout who brings unexpected life and energy into his home. But although the title refers to Arthur’s quirky, larger-than-life charm, readers will find his story expendable compared to the struggles faced by single mom Charlene’s son Kel. Kel’s narrative, full of male adolescent swagger and uncertainty, is heart-wrenching. Charlene’s desperate attempts to give him the chances she missed cause Kel to struggle with deeply divided loyalties as he commutes from his working-class Yonkers neighborhood to a prestigious Westchester high school where Charlene used to work as secretary. Handsome and athletic, Kel is beloved by his friends and teachers, who have bent rules to keep Kel enrolled ever since Charlene quit (or was fired) several years ago. Now a senior, Kel is tempted by a professional baseball scout, while Charlene drinks away her days to dull the pain of lupus and concocts her wild scheme, doing whatever it takes to get Kel to attend college.

Only a hardhearted reader will remain immune to Kel’s troubled charm.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-393-08150-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

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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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