The Hopefuls by Jennifer CloseThe Hopefuls by Jennifer Close

The Hopefuls

byJennifer Close

Hardcover | July 19, 2016

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A brilliantly funny novel about ambition and marriage from the best selling author of Girls in White Dresses, The Hopefuls tells the story of a young wife who follows her husband and his political dreams to D.C., a city of idealism, gossip, and complicated friendships among young Washington's aspiring elite. 

When Beth arrives in Washington, D.C., she hates everything about it: the confusing traffic circles, the ubiquitous Ann Taylor suits, the humidity that descends each summer. At dinner parties, guests compare their security clearance levels. They leave their BlackBerrys on the table. They speak in acronyms. And once they realize Beth doesn't work in politics, they smile blandly and turn away. Soon Beth and her husband, Matt, meet a charismatic White House staffer named Jimmy and his wife, Ashleigh, and the four become inseparable, coordinating brunch, birthdays, and long weekends away. But as Jimmy's star rises higher and higher, their friendship--and Beth's relationship with Matt--is threatened by jealousy, competition and rumors. A glorious send-up of young D.C. and a blazingly honest portrait of a marriage, this is the finest work yet by one of our most beloved writers.
JENNIFER CLOSE is the bestselling author of Girls in White Dresses and The Smart One. Born and raised on the North Shore of Chicago, she is a graduate of Boston College and received her MFA in Fiction Writing from the New School in 2005. She worked in magazines in New York for many years and then as a bookseller in Washington, DC.
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Title:The HopefulsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.6 × 6.6 × 1.3 inPublished:July 19, 2016Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385685149

ISBN - 13:9780385685146

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from More Relational than Political The story is about how balance the conflicting goals of supporting one's partner in their goals while pursuing your own wants and desires both within and outside of the relationship. Although the book focuses a great deal on politics the characters were relatable and captivating.
Date published: 2017-05-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good I read this during the US election season so it was very fitting for the time. Good read, insightful on the inner workings of relationships and a cool look into how I imagined a political life to be. Dragged on a little bit but overall a good read.
Date published: 2017-04-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Ok I thought this book was o.k. People interested in politics or relationships might like it.
Date published: 2017-02-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not as good as expected I am sad to say that I am happy that I borrowed this book from the library instead of buying it. It is not that good. I loved her previous two books, and figured I would love this one too. This book is slow, dry and kinda boring.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not awful Close does a good job writing the transitions between 20 somethings to 30 somethings. But this is not her best work. Kind of boring.
Date published: 2016-11-20

Bookclub Guide

1. Who are the “hopefuls” in the title?2. In the Washington, DC, of the novel, most people are from elsewhere—away from home and family. How does this contribute to the intensity of their relationships?3. On page 13, Matt tries to cheer up Beth about their move to DC: “ ‘We’re here,’ he said. ‘And home is wherever we’re together.’ ” Beth doesn’t quite buy it. Why not?4. As a spouse who’s not particularly interested in politics, Beth feels like an outsider. What should she have done to find her own tribe—or does that seem impossible in the atmosphere the novel describes?5. Personal identity is one of the themes running through the novel. In DC, Beth struggles to find her sense of self. She considers it a matter of circumstance, but things are no better in Texas. Has she brought this about somehow?6. The theme of friendship also weaves through the story. Is Beth a good friend? Who is a better friend to her, Ash or Colleen?7. On page 84, Beth says, “Matt’s jealousy no longer surprised me. I’d figured out that DC was a city that was crammed full of jealousy, that there was, in fact, a hierarchy of jealousy among the people we spent time with.” Why does she believe DC to be more rife with jealousy than anywhere else? Do the people in Texas prove to be less inclined toward the sentiment?8. When Beth learns that both Ash and Colleen are pregnant, she doesn’t react well. Why not? How does her ambivalence about motherhood factor into this?9. “[The Dillons] were just so lucky, so charmed. Everything was working out for them, life was unfolding exactly as it should—and most of the time, it seemed like it was all happening without any effort on their part.” (page 146) Why does Beth feel this way? In what ways is she right, and how is she wrong?10. Matt is better informed and more insightful than Jimmy, yet Jimmy’s charisma makes him a better politician. What point is the author making about this?11. When Beth meets The Dozens, how does it change her perception of Ash?12. The Dillons follow traditional gender roles when it comes to parenting. What is the reader meant to think about this? Does having well-defined roles help or hinder the Dillons’ relationship?13. When Matt pulls away from Beth during Jimmy’s campaign, does that set in motion what came after? How might things have gone differently?14. On page 248, Colleen tells Beth, “ ‘I mean, every person expects something from the other one when they get married.’ ” What point is she making? Do you agree?15. If Matt hadn’t interrupted, what do you think would have happened between Beth and Jimmy?16. Beth isn’t sure whether or not Jimmy has told Ash what happened. Given how he’s been portrayed in the novel, why does she think he would have?17. Colleen proves herself to be a straight-talking friend. On page 292, she points out to Beth, “ ‘You’re always letting things happen to you. You just wait to react. Do something.’ ” Does Beth take her advice?18. Close introduces each section with a quote from a president or first lady—until the final one, which opens with this quote from Dylan Thomas: “Washington isn’t a city, it’s an abstraction.” What does it mean?19. Discuss the final section of the novel, the postscript set in DC. Was it the ending you expected?Suggested Reading:The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie BenjaminThe Astronaut Wives Club by Lily KoppelThe Senator’s Wife by Sue MillerThis One Is Mine by Maria SempleMadam President by Nicolle WallaceAdulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown 

Editorial Reviews

"New York Times bestseller Jennifer Close . . . does an impeccable job of presenting [Washington] with all its flaws and intrigue. . . . The backdrop of the Obama administration and modern-day politics in general makes the story even more compelling." —Marissa Stapley, The Globe and Mail"Ambition, political power and charisma take center stage in Close's riveting page turner about two couples who meet in DC—and the toll one pair's success takes on the other." —Entertainment Weekly"Breezy, quick and straightforward. . . . Close probes the allure of a promising candidate with insider's authority, and . . . delivers a fresh reflection on [Obama's] years in office, with Close's political observations lending a dimension that punches up the plot." —National Post"The Hopefuls captures everything we love to hate about Washington. . . . A pleasure to read. . . . A welcome mixture of humor and wisdom about the good people who run this country—or, for some reason, want to." —The Washington Post"A fascinating drama about relationships, loyalty, the price of aspirations and success, The Hopefuls will surely ensnare you into this world from page one—and hold you there, tightly, until the final word." —Refinery29 “The author of Girls in White Dresses delivers her latest novel about a couple navigating the political ladder in DC. Inspired by Close's own experiences moving to Washington for her husband's work on the Obama campaign, The Hopefuls is blisteringly honest about the circus of American politics and Washington's exhausting culture of competition—one that that renders people outside of political circles virtually invisible." —Elle "[The Hopefuls] is a much lighter, funnier version of House of Cards—imagine the jealousy and ambitions of the Underwoods married with the humor of a sitcom like New Girl with its focus on friendships and playing at adulthood." —Chicago Review of Books"Close lays the sacrifices and successes of a marriage bare with razor-sharp prose and keen wit. Fans of Lianne Moriarty's relatable heroines will adore fish-out-of-water Beth, while political junkies will appreciate an insider's view of a small campaign. With themes reminiscent of The Marriage Plot and perfectly suited for this year's political climate, The Hopefuls is unflinchingly honest and utterly compelling." —Booklist, starred review"If you love and miss The West Wing, this is one book you'll want to pick up. Jennifer Close gets so many things about DC and its culture so very right. . . . She also knows political campaigns inside out—the bad and the ugly as well as the good. She writes honestly and convincingly about those aspects of marriage and friendship, too." —BookRiot