A well-written, serpentine, breezy thriller centered on themes of belonging, abandonment, and the emotional struggle of...

The Fireproof Girl

An adventuresome tale of two co-dependent foster kids, one of whom becomes unraveled when the other is found murdered.

Popular serial novelist Lost’s (Clarity, 2014, etc.) story of allegiance and betrayal follows Scarlett and Cole Hunter, who both managed to endure a string of disastrous foster-home experiences and establish an inseparable, heartfelt connection. Scarlett has had a protective bond with Cole since she was 13, but recently, now that he has become a reputable, innovative architect, he has inexplicably disappeared. When Scarlett’s meddlesome war-veteran boyfriend, Zack, reveals proof that Cole has been murdered, she dismisses his desperate marriage proposal to embark on a mission to discover why her beloved Cole was gunned down. Motivated by her love for her friend and the rich history they shared, Scarlett (using “Sophie” as a fake name) believes she can solve the riddle of his violent murder. Flashback chapters effectively grouped throughout the novel depict the two’s youth. Cole’s parents died in a house fire when he was young, and his adolescence included a succession of abusive foster homes. Throughout it all, he cultivated a dream of becoming an entrepreneurial architect. He’d met Scarlett when they were foster children together under the roof of an abusive, child-molesting tyrant, each promising the other they would get out alive. Their abuser now has become a high-profile senator and quite possibly Cole’s vengeful murderer, so Scarlett must use all of her technological acumen as a covert “cryptanalyst” (developed after years of designing security-system software for Cole’s business) to break into his personal accounts for clues. The story is succinct and swiftly paced, loaded with colorful characters; the makeup of one looked “like it came directly from an Instagram tutorial.” Readers will vicariously enjoy this thrill ride as Scarlett edges closer to the truth and the danger mounts. Scarlett’s true identity and a final, somewhat far-fetched twist will both surprise and bewilder and leave just enough room for a sequel.

A well-written, serpentine, breezy thriller centered on themes of belonging, abandonment, and the emotional struggle of parentless children.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5393-5286-0

Page Count: 360

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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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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