An angst-y, emotional romance that explores the challenges of falling in love.

FOR YOU & NO ONE ELSE

A therapist and a cybersecurity expert who are neighbors in a coworking building agree to a friends-with-benefits arrangement.

Eliza Catalano loves her job as a therapist, but she struggles to manage her own feelings. Grieving over the loss of both parents in a car accident two years ago and feeling like a failure for being single at 32, she decides to adopt a dog on Christmas Day. When she stops at her office to do some paperwork first, she finds Beckham Carter, the cute younger guy in the office next door, also alone and working on the holiday. She spontaneously asks him to join her at the dog shelter, and a friendship is born. Beck is a cybersecurity expert with zero presence on social media, and he invites Eliza to join him at a “NoPho” party, where his large group of friends get together to focus on the people in the room, with no phones allowed. Beck encourages Eliza to detox from social media and the dating apps that make her feel like a failure, but he struggles to reveal his own feelings of failure about his past. His parents were leaders of a fundamentalist Christian cult, and he abandoned his entire family after leaving the cult in his late teens. There is a strong attraction between the two, but Eliza wants marriage and family while Beck is determined to stay single forever. They agree to a friends-with-benefits arrangement, realizing it’s the only path forward since they have such different relationship goals. Eliza and Beck are both sympathetic, nuanced characters, and Loren fully explores their inner lives to great effect. The late return of someone from Beck’s past is nothing more than a plot device, though; it strikes a discordant note in a book that aims to thoughtfully explore how sad, traumatized people learn to love and trust each other.

An angst-y, emotional romance that explores the challenges of falling in love.

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-49269-328-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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