• Title: Hooverville
  • Author: Kayla Joy
  • Publisher: Kayla Joy on April 15, 2021
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Pages: 286
  • Formats Available: Hardback, Paperback, & Digital
  • Rating: 5/5

Trigger Warnings: Violence, Domestic Abuse, Death, Scenes of War

Many thanks to Kayla Joy and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a digital copy of Hooverville with a request for an honest review.

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Hooverville Blurb

Annaleise Winston can never seem to fit in with the Society Girls, the strict rules that govern them, or their selfish indulgence during the Great Depression. Behind closed doors, her publicly perfect new fiance, Frank Alexander, is violent and dismissive, but without his financial security, Annaleise and her mother will be on the streets with not a penny to their name. 

When Annaleise finally has enough, she runs away and accidentally becomes stranded in a Hooverville, a lawless homeless encampment in Central Park, where she must keep her identity a secret if she wants to stay alive. But a kind shoe shiner named Thomas Kelley may get in the way of everything she thought she ever wanted. As their love for each other grows, the Great Depression worsens, and Frank will pay any price to bring back his bride.

Provided by Rachel’s Random Resources for Tour Use

My Review

Kayla Joy tells a stunning story in her newest novel, Hooverville. After reading, I have a new desire to study The Great Depression further. Joy’s research shows how dedicated she is to the story. Rarely is history the star of the show, but you find it here.

Annaleise Winston is little more than a puppet for her mother and fiance to torment. The abuse Annaleise suffers from her mother and her fiance make her bow to their will. Annaleise wants nothing more but to get away from her life. When the opportunity arises for her to escape, she takes it. Due to unforeseen circumstances, she winds up living in a Hooverville. Annaleise finally finds a family that accepts her as she is, and she fights like hell to keep it intact. Unfortunately, there is loss at every turn. Will Annaleise make it through to a happy ending?

Annaleise is an exceptional character. She suffers intense self-doubt and is not allowed a voice. Her life has been an exercise in drowning her feelings to make everyone around her happy. Though, according to them, she can do nothing right, even when she is silent. But, when Annaleise escapes and finds her place in the world, she is an unstoppable force. Her friendship with Eva, Peter, and Thomas makes her feel normal. My favorite character is Thomas. He is the caretaker of those living in the Hooverville encampment. He has an unending amount of empathy and love for the people who have nothing. The relationship that blooms between Thomas and Annaleise feels like fate. The emotions that come with it are powerful.

The setting of New York society lets you know that just because things glitter, they are not always good. I reacted stronger to Hooverville city. The love and companionship between the residents are incredible. But, Kayla Joy reminds the reader that even love can’t protect you from disease, hunger, and those who wish you harm. While the encampment sounds like a romantic ideal, it teems with danger. Annaleise learns these lessons the hard way. Though, she still finds it a better situation than with the socialites.

My emotions were all over the place while reading. One second I am seething with anger, and the next, I am sobbing uncontrollably. I am not familiar with the era of the Great Depression. I read about Hoover and the Hoovervilles in my high school history class. But nothing prepared me for what I learned in this novel. This nostalgia is another one of those situations that I wish I could go back and ask my Grandma about.

I award Hooverville a full 5 out of 5 stars. If you have followed me for a while, you know that history is close to my heart. This book made the world seem right outside my door. History came alive for me in a way that I don’t experience often. I recommend this book to everyone, especially those in the US. There are so many experiences during that time that seem relevant now.

About the Author – Kayla Joy

Kayla Joy is an author and artist living in the Pacific Northwest with her family and her many animals. At 20, she has already self published two books: Morbid Tales from Behind the Mirror (available on Amazon now) and Hooverville. You can follow her journey at kaylajoybooks.com.

Author’s Contact Links: Website | Instagram | Facebook

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  1. There is so much we can learn about from History, and that’s why stories like these are so important. Lovely review!

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