An engrossing, impressive debut novel that skillfully charts a young Frenchwoman’s coming-of-age.

THE MARGOT AFFAIR

A French teenager struggles to navigate her relationships with her famous parents in this moody bildungsroman.

Margot Louve’s life changes forever when she and her mother, Anouk, a successful stage actress, see her father’s wife outside a cafe in Paris. Suddenly, Margot begins to question the secret life that her father, Bertrand Lapierre, the French Minister of Culture, and her formidable, unconventional mother have built together. Though Margot adores her father, who remains a frequent presence in her life, his identity must remain a secret to the rest of the world. When faced with the reality of his other, public life and family, Margot begins to yearn for her father to leave his wife and takes a reckless step to encourage him to do so. This debut novel by Lemoine, a French Japanese writer who currently lives in New York, explores Margot’s relationships not only with her parents, but also with Brigitte and David, two older, married journalists with whom she develops an ambiguous, sexually fraught relationship. Lemoine excels at teasing out the ambivalent contours of relationships between teenagers and adults. At 17, Margot teeters between childhood and adulthood: Both insightful and immature, she is eager to be treated like a grown-up. Frustrated by adults who treat her like a child, she is drawn to people who seem to take her seriously. But these relationships are not straightforward, and as the book progresses, Margot reevaluates her ideas about Brigitte, David, and her parents. Though the novel is largely concerned with Margot’s interior emotional state, it moves at a satisfyingly quick pace, and Lemoine’s prose is visually and emotionally precise: “If she abandoned me,” Margot thinks of Anouk, “I’d have a concrete reason to blame her, other than this confused feeling of unhappiness.”

An engrossing, impressive debut novel that skillfully charts a young Frenchwoman’s coming-of-age.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984854-43-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Hogarth

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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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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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