LESSONS IN LAUGHING OUT LOUD

An unhappy and overweight single Londoner finds her world transformed after donning a very special pair of shoes.

As the reliable and trusted underling to gleefully ruthless talent agent Victoria Kincade, Willow Briar is used to fading into the background, especially when surrounded by Victoria’s celebrity clients. Attractive but heavy, she has seen numerous opportunities—and men—pass her by. A bit of a recluse outside of work, she remains close with her twin sister Holly, a slim, sweet mother of 4-year-old girls who lives in the suburbs. Holly is a living reminder of everything Willow could have been. So when Victoria insists Willow hide waifish starlet India Torrance in her dingy flat after an on-set romance goes bad, she knows she doesn’t really have a choice. After reluctantly agreeing, she walks into a vintage shop on a random block and walks out wearing a fabulous pair of sexy pumps. Almost instantly Willow feels better about herself, and begins to get positive attention from friends and strangers alike. And then Chloe, the pregnant teenage daughter of her ex-husband Sam, shows up on her doorstep. It was Sam, a ruggedly handsome wine merchant, who called off their marriage, but Willow blames herself. Losing Chloe in the process was extremely painful for both of them. Still smarting from Willow’s perceived abandonment, Chloe has attitude to spare, and insists Willow make it up to her by allowing her to crash at her place as well. With Chloe and the young movie star holed up and bonding, Willow tries out her new shoe-inspired confidence on her longtime best friend Daniel, a photographer with a thing for models. Willow meets up with Sam again, too, as they try to figure out what is best for Chloe. But when Willow sabotages a chance for new love, she realizes that unresolved issues from her past have kept her from a fulfilling life. Eager to change that, she takes a brave trip back to her hometown to confront an ugly family secret—before it’s too late. Coleman (The Home for Broken Hearts, 2010, etc.) seems to be trying to do too much in this novel, and the shift from comedy to drama is a bit jarring. But Willow manages to be quite a sympathetic creation. One woman’s attempt to take charge of her destiny—with a side of magic realism.    

 

Pub Date: March 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-0641-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

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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