Memorable and monumental: a book to read alongside rival and compatriot Günter Grass’ Tin Drum as a portrait of decline and...

ALL FOR NOTHING

The late German author serves up a bleak tale of the final days of World War II as a down-on-its-luck family prepares for worse to come.

Eberhard von Globig is a Sonderführer stationed in Italy, his job to ransack the country of its best foods and wines, while his wife, Katherina, “famous as a languorous beauty, black-haired and blue-eyed,” is left to run his rattletrap East Prussian estate. As Kempowski (Swansong 1945: A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich, 2015, etc.) quickly makes clear, though, the person who is really in charge is called “Auntie,” “a sinewy old spinster with a wart on her chin” whose resourcefulness is not to be underestimated. At the center of the story, with all its roman à clef elements, is 12-year-old Peter, who would rather be doing anything than mandatory service in the Hitler Youth. Keeping a disapproving eye on him is Drygalski, the manager of a nearby estate, who, though mourning a dead son and tending to a sick wife, has plenty of time to spy on the von Globigs and their suspiciously multiethnic household, with its Polish handyman and Ukrainian maids. Into this odd scene, as Russian guns rumble on the horizon, comes a steady flow of refugees and dispossessed people: a mixed family whose sons, half Jewish, “had been dreadfully sad because they couldn’t join the Hitler Youth,” a political economist, an artist, a musician, and others. For a time it seems as if the war might bypass this odd congeries of people, as if somehow taking pity, but in time events catch up to them in the form of bullets, bombs, and columns of ghostlike people bound for the camps a step ahead of the advancing Red Army—about whom a schoolmaster remarks to Peter, hopefully, “The Russians had been here in the First War, too, and had behaved decently.”

Memorable and monumental: a book to read alongside rival and compatriot Günter Grass’ Tin Drum as a portrait of decline and fall.

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-168137-205-1

Page Count: 372

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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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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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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