A captivating treat for those willing to go with the flow.

THE FOUR HUMORS

Seçkin's idiosyncratic debut novel follows its conflicted heroine through a relatively uneventful but richly strange summer in Istanbul.

Turkish American Sibel, who is on summer break before entering her senior year of college, has been dispatched by her family to care for her grandmother, study for her medical school entrance exams, and visit her father's grave. None of those projects is going swimmingly. Instead, Sibel and her grandmother, who has Parkinson's disease, spend their days watching soap operas and eating rich meals. Sibel comes up with every imaginable excuse to avoid visiting the grave, feeling guilty about her father's death because she feels she didn't act quickly enough when he collapsed in front of her. Rather than studying modern medicine, she becomes obsessed with the ancient theory of the four humors—“blood, phlegm, black bile, and choler”—concluding, for example, that “Istanbul is black bile, melancholy, only disguised as a city.” Meanwhile, her well-meaning but semiclueless boyfriend, Cooper, who accompanied her, decides to dedicate himself to curing Turkey's ills. As the summer drifts on, Sibel attends one family party after another, pays peripheral attention to the fraught politics of the country—the novel is set a year after the Gezi Park protests of 2013—and investigates her complicated family history, which turns out to be a soap opera of its own, full of kidnappings and sudden deaths. While it's a challenge to keep track of all of Sibel's current friends and relatives, let alone the preceding generations, and while the novel may be more concerned with the ebb and flow of daily experience than with advancing the plot, Seçkin conveys a convincing, often dryly humorous sense of life in a constantly changing city and of the experience of those who, as Sibel notes at the airport, can “choose whichever line is shorter, Turkish Citizen or Foreign Citizen.”

A captivating treat for those willing to go with the flow.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64622-046-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Catapult

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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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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