Instead, the truth becomes a canvas for a beautiful still-life portrait—and a masterpiece at that.


Roy’s mesmerizing debut explores the inner lives of a family of Indian immigrants who can never reveal their secrets.

Romola Mitra doesn’t tell her new husband, Avinash, what she found in a letter addressed to him. It’s too late for that—she’s already left Calcutta for the small Illinois town where Avinash is finishing his Ph.D. Romola now bottles a painful secret that seems destined to explode. Instead, it fizzles. Flashbacks to Romola’s hopeful youth in India contrast with quiet scenes of domesticity with Avinash and their son, Amit, all three forming a close-knit family without knowing each other at all. Avinash, whose first crush was on his male barber, has resorted to meeting men in anonymous chat rooms and gay clubs, while his wife daydreams about the film star she might have married had her parents approved. Amit grows up and moves to San Francisco without ever knowing the sacrifices his parents made. In refusing to buck the system, they challenge the very notion of freedom. In Calcutta, the Mitra family had servants; in the middle of America, Romola is confined to her box of an apartment with no car and not quite enough English to fully express herself. She and her extended family find freedom in transcendent moments. Forbidden to eat sweets, Amit’s great-grandmother hides jars of mango chutney under her mattress to have when she’s bedridden. Her recipe—and the tastes and smells it produces—follows Amit all the way to San Francisco years after she dies. Romola’s adventures are the most surreal, including a harrowing encounter with a McDonald’s cashier, a tussle with a bodyguard at a funeral and a singalong with a drag queen named Bang la Dish. For Avinash, what doesn’t happen is almost as important as what does: At times, his indiscretion leads him to heartache or danger, but it doesn’t ruin his life.

Instead, the truth becomes a canvas for a beautiful still-life portrait—and a masterpiece at that.

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62040-898-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 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: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...


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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