Equal parts hilarity and heartbreak in an accomplished debut.

Eighty Days of Sunlight


In Yune’s moving and darkly comic debut novel, a young Korean-American man struggles to come to terms with his cultural identity and dysfunctional working-class family.

When Jason’s father loses his blue-collar job, he sends his young son and Jason’s antagonistic brother, Tommy, to stay with a friend called “the doctor” and his wife in Princeton, New Jersey, while he looks for work. Once he’s situated in a job at a book bindery in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Tommy is called home to live with their now-overworked and abusive father, but Jason remains in the doctor’s household, where he’s brought up in affluence and privilege. The father’s suicide brings the rival brothers back together, as Jason discovers he has inherited his father’s house. Both brothers take work at the Wilkes-Barre book bindery, determined that their father’s former workplace holds the secret to his premature death. The brothers are ultimately disappointed by the banal truth surrounding their father’s suicide, and when Tommy is let go after a physical altercation with another employee, Jason eventually leaves the physically and emotionally oppressive work behind to follow his brother and attend college in Pittsburgh. There, the siblings’ tense relationship deepens as Jason attempts to refine his sense of identity and Tommy’s drinking and drug use spiral further out of control. With neither brother able to get much traction in their lives, Jason returns to the doctor’s household for a respite, while his brother comes perilously close to self-destruction. The brothers seem best able to relate as part of triangular relationships, first with their father and later with a charming art student named Kate, and Yune’s exploration of this dynamic is fascinating. The prose is frequently stunning, as in a description of Tommy’s role in a bar fight: “…he was throwing himself before the mercy of the nation’s sharp young men, bulging with bovine growth hormone, testosterone, and date rape.” Yune also proves himself an expert at wry observation: “Reading,” he writes of the dehumanizing atmosphere of the bindery, “was forbidden in the book factory.”

Equal parts hilarity and heartbreak in an accomplished debut.

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1632260444

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Thought Catalog Books/Prospecta Press

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

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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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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 6, 2014

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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: April 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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