The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
American politics is an interesting subject to take on with so many twists and turns, but in The Hopefuls it is the American political landscape of the last decade that sets the scene for one young, ambitious couple to navigate both professional and personal lives.
It is Matt's only dream to become a politician and to hold office someday. After all, his mother has been talking about it since he dressed up as Ronald Reagan in the second grade. Matt's wife Beth is a writer who is just taking it all in, doing what she can to help support her husband. When they move to D.C. After Matt gets a job with the Obama administration, Beth and Matt befriend Jimmy and Ash, a fun-loving Texas couple with political ambitions of their own. What this friendship does to both couples is as interesting as watching the election results come in for your favorite candidate.
The best part about this book is the political aspect of it. It seems to portray the professional political landscape like any informed voter would imagine it—a ton of really smart, hardworking people working in the background while the figure head gets to take all the credit. What became uninteresting to me was the relationships of Matt, Beth, Ash and Jimmy as couples and as friends. By the middle of the book, I was rooting for Beth to just up and leave Matt. Near the end of the book, I was hoping for divorces all around. It wasn't that the characters weren't realistic—it was just that Beth was, like her friend Colleen points out, letting life happen to her instead of making decisions on her own. She was too weak for me and I never felt sorry for the situation she was in. So when the picturesque future appears and the reader assumes Matt will get everything he wants, it's just unsatisfying.
*Received a copy of this book through Penguin First to Read
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