Fans of light romance and family reunions will savor this sensitive portrait of love transcending grief.

THE HUSBAND HOUR

Lauren Kincaid just wants to escape the public eye, but that isn't so easy as the widow of Rory, an NHL hockey player who enlisted in the Army and was killed in action while serving in Iraq. She hopes to gain some privacy to mourn by retreating to her family's beach house on the Jersey shore.

Her privacy is complicated after four years when Lauren’s parents, sister, and 6-year-old nephew arrive for the summer. Even worse, attractive filmmaker Matt Brio, determined to make a documentary about Rory, wants to interview Lauren before he loses funding. Although Matt, too, admires Rory, he suspects that there may be more to the story of an American saint than his heroism. Unearthing revelations about a man everyone adored and no one wants to malign proves difficult. Eventually, Lauren and her sister agree to cooperate, and Matt’s interviews expose several skeletons in Rory’s closet. Toggling between Lauren’s new life—a life she keeps too busy to dwell on the past—and flashbacks to her buried memories of Rory, Brenner (The Forever Summer, 2017, etc.) empathetically portrays a fragile woman hiding secrets from herself. In Lauren’s memory, they were the perfect couple, high school sweethearts. Rory was the star hockey player, a junior who spotted a shy, pretty sophomore girl running track and fell in love. Though they were inseparable in high school, Rory pushed Lauren away for a brief period during college so he could concentrate on academics and hockey at Harvard, where he generated a lot of interest, landing him a place with the L.A. Kings. Reunited after college, they moved to California, and although Lauren supported him, Rory struggled to gain ice time. His abrupt decision to enlist terrified Lauren but came as no surprise to Rory’s beloved older brother, Emerson. Brenner deftly orchestrates the painful peeling away of Lauren’s memories, and just when it seems that Lauren is simply a heartbroken widow, questions surface: Why does Emerson hold a grudge against her? Why didn’t Lauren know Rory was going to volunteer for a second tour? Only an unflinching look at the truth will let Lauren move on and, perhaps, find a new life.

Fans of light romance and family reunions will savor this sensitive portrait of love transcending grief.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-39490-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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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

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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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