A skillfully written family drama that employs quirk and magic with grace.

SPOONBENDERS

In a nimble and substantial novel, Gregory (Harrison Squared, 2015, etc.) delves into the lives of the members of the eccentric and psychically gifted Telemachus family.

On a summer day in 1963, Teddy Telemachus, a flamboyant and charming con man, card shark, and devotee of sleight of hand, cheats his way into a government study about psychic abilities. He meets Maureen McKinnon, a genuine psychic of enormous and mysterious power, and immediately falls in love with her. They get married, have three children with particular psychic gifts, and become famous as the Amazing Telemachus Family until a combination of televised embarrassment and personal loss begins to unravel their lives. Thirty years later, the Telemachus family’s lives are in tatters and sliding ever further into the dreariness of debt, unhappiness, and possible mental instability when the 14-year-old Matty Telemachus plunges them back into a world of cleverly plotted and swiftly paced adventure. Gregory’s novel deploys a cast of odd, damaged, enormously likable characters in a complex story that gracefully balances the outrageous melodrama of Chicago mobsters and shadowy government agencies with the ordinary mysteries of family dynamics. Each of the characters, even when absurdly cartoonish, has a precise energy and depth that makes him or her irresistible. The chapters shift between their points of view, revealing different threads of the story with masterful control and giving the novel an illusion of gleeful messiness and the argumentative, frequently poignant feeling of a family gathering. While the novel revels in elements that entertain—criminal capers, magic, nostalgia for the internet chat rooms and computer paraphernalia of the 1990s—it never shies away from the real emotion of digging up the lies and illusions that sink into every family history. Readers will emerge from the fray sure they know each Telemachus down to the smudges on their hearts.

A skillfully written family drama that employs quirk and magic with grace.

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3182-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

Finding positivity in negative pregnancy-test results, this depiction of a marriage in crisis is nearly perfect.

ALL YOUR PERFECTS

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more