Whelan has created a beautiful, romantic story that focuses on big ideas—love, death, poetry, and what really matters in the...

MY OXFORD YEAR

A young woman starts an unexpected relationship while studying at Oxford in Whelan’s debut.

Ella Duran has a lot going on. After dreaming of studying at Oxford since she was a girl, she’s finally there on a Rhodes scholarship, studying English language and literature from 1830-1914. She still has a career back in America, though—working in politics, where she has a chance to be the education consultant on a junior senator’s campaign for president. She’ll be working remotely and flying back to D.C. the second her year in Oxford ends. It all seems to be working out perfectly…but then she meets Jamie Davenport. After he runs into her in a chip shop and knocks a plate of condiments into her shirt, she thinks he’s just a jerk and assumes she’ll never see him again. But when she walks into her first day of class, she’s dismayed to see that Jamie Davenport is her professor. Ella is soon making connections with her brainy classmates, including dramatic Charlie, pink-haired Maggie, and goofy Tom. She also begins a friendship with Jamie that soon turns into much more, although his reputation as a playboy and her short time in England make her assume that their “relationship” has an expiration date. But Jamie is charismatic and adventurous, and Ella can’t help falling for him—which is why it’s such a shock when she discovers that he’s been hiding a huge secret. He has cancer, and now Ella must decide if their relationship will really be over when her Oxford year ends or if she wants to stay by his side through the inevitable ups and downs of his illness. Whelan describes Oxford richly, allowing readers to almost smell the chips and hear the bustle on the streets. Ella is an engaging narrator, one many readers will easily relate to, and her friends are fun, wacky characters who trade quips as quickly as if they were on Gilmore Girls. Ella and Jamie’s relationship, which could so easily turn saccharine, always feels genuine, in part because the description of his illness and chemo focuses on the realistically awful details. Despite the subject matter, the story is infused with enough humor that it never feels unbearably heavy.

Whelan has created a beautiful, romantic story that focuses on big ideas—love, death, poetry, and what really matters in the end.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-274064-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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

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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