A touching study rich with introspection and finely crafted relationships.


In Wachtel’s (My Mother’s Shoes, 2011, etc.) novel, suffering crosses generations, from a teenager in anguished love to an enfeebled survivor of Auschwitz.

“During all events in our lives, both great and small, the moment always passes too swiftly. Something like a dream,” muses Joshua, one of the novel’s conflicted principal characters, as he reflects on past loss. Dreams and memories linger over events both great and small in the lives of two families in upstate New York. Joshua, the middle-aged single father to diffident Adam, is haunted by a moment that ended one life and began another. “I knew the dream had vanished the minute my son uttered his first cry,” he remembers. His father, David, “cries more than he speaks,” forever unable to escape the events of the Holocaust—both those that changed everything in an instant and those that made several years feel like “several lifetimes in the nether world.” In another household, tax attorney Virginia contends with one daughter, Meghan, about to leave for college and another, Christine, who is just past college age. The relationship between Christine, a tattooed sculptor with purple-streaked hair, and her mother is laden with grievances and misunderstanding. Christine manifests her torment through bodily harm, while her mother begins to see a young boy who may be an illusion, a dream himself. Wachtel’s novel is a poignant exploration of the struggles—whether unique, universal, historical or ephemeral, whether happenstance or deliberate—that ebb and flow throughout life. There is a practically visceral ache behind each character’s meditations. (That sensation is particularly harrowing in David’s recollections of his experiences during and just after the war, which shift events to Poland and Prague.) Yet in spite of it all, there is also a sense that, no matter how many dreams and illusions haunt us, life is a transient gift deserving of gratitude. “I’ve been suffering from a tear in the spirit, but still I am in perfect health,” Joshua says. His words reflect what the events around him make clear: Tears in the spirit mend, and being alive means persistent struggle and survival.

A touching study rich with introspection and finely crafted relationships.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500785529

Page Count: 350

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 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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