A sharply drawn protagonist gives this novel power and zest.


Making an appealing debut, Canadian lawyer Patel draws on her experiences at a nongovernmental organization in India to follow the fortunes of Justice For All, a financially strapped human rights agency, where underpaid lawyers toil mightily to represent the poor of Mumbai.

Cynical, street-smart Rakhi is the agency’s 23-year-old office assistant whose menial tasks include taking care of a changing cast of naïve interns, who, she remarks, “come here wanting to fix India and leave after two stomach bugs, whining about how much they miss clean air and something they call almond milk.” Rakhi was hired by the agency’s director, Gauri, who first met her at a girls’ school where she had been remanded after living on the streets for 5 years—an experience that Patel recounts in gritty detail. Learning about Rakhi’s childhood—abandonment, hunger, physical harm—Gauri was astonished by the girl’s fierce spirit and intelligence: “Every door had been slammed in your face,” she tells Rakhi, “and yet there you were, still surviving.” When Rakhi turns 18, Gauri gives her a job that, she thinks, will grant the girl “another chance at life”; but for Rakhi, working for Gauri seems, instead, like another incarceration. Paid a pittance, she lives in a slum of “open sewers, monsoon floods,” and teeming “multilevel hutments”; and furthermore, Gauri monitors her every move. Rakhi’s longing for a different future and Gauri’s desperate effort to keep her agency afloat make them vulnerable to two characters—vivid though stereotypical—who seem to offer an answer to their dreams: a well-connected Canadian intern bound for Harvard’s Kennedy School who takes an outsized interest in Rakhi’s life; and a fading Bollywood star, hoping to revive her career, who promises to lure big donors in exchange for becoming the “public face” of the NGO.

A sharply drawn protagonist gives this novel power and zest.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-49950-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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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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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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Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.


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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