A seamlessly written book full of beautiful connections.



A Bay Area writing professor narrates these interconnected stories, emphasizing the importance of memory and shared experience.

"Is it possible you might need to carry something from the past, from what has happened to what will be?" the narrator asks, and this question weaves itself throughout the stories. In nonchronological yet seamless order, the narrator recalls moments of her life, often weaving flashbacks and thoughtful, sometimes humorous or horrifying anecdotes into the main narrative. In “Murderer’s Bread," she and her partner, Stevie, leave the city for a quieter, more conservative coastal town, where they worry about fitting in. Their concerns about homophobia are palpable, yet the couple embraces the neighborhood’s other outsiders, forming an unlikely community despite their doubts. In “As If You and I Agree,” a contemporary pandemic story, the narrator’s anger at two men not wearing masks builds until she surreptitiously curses them with her middle finger while pushing up her sunglasses. The interaction—which occurs as she's taking her morning walk on a path next to the beach—is familiar, latching on to the heightened emotions about public health circa 2020, but what happens next is unique and aptly illustrated. In silence, she unites with her PPE–defying enemies at the rare sight of a humpback whale, breaching "like a huge middle digit,” just like the finger she insulted the men with moments before. Though the narrator's nostalgic tone can sometimes feel forlorn, there's an overarching sense of optimism in her recollections, with beads of wisdom scattered throughout the book. "You can have a life where whatever you catch brings you joy," she says on a pier near her adopted home, reminiscing about the time she saw a man laugh as sea gulls plucked a comma-shaped pink shrimp, perhaps bait, from his fingers—a simple memory that she distills to its moral essence.

A seamlessly written book full of beautiful connections.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64009-516-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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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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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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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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