A Read with Jenna Bonus Selection
An “immersive…illuminating” (Booklist) and life-affirming novel following the residents of an idyllic Connecticut town over the course of a year, A Little Hope explores the intertwining lives of a dozen neighbors as they confront everyday desires and fears: a lost love, a stalled career, an illness, and a betrayal.
Freddie and Greg Tyler seem to have it all: a comfortable home, a beautiful young daughter, a bond that feels unbreakable. But when Greg is diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, the sense of certainty they once knew evaporates. Throughout their town, friends and neighbors face the most difficult of life’s challenges and are figuring out how to survive thanks to love, grace, and hope.
“A quietly powerful portrait of small-town life…told with wisdom and tenderness” (Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes) A Little Hope is a deeply resonant debut that immerses the reader in a community and celebrates the importance of small moments of connection.
Ethan Joella teaches English and psychology at the University of Delaware and specializes in community writing workshops. His work has appeared in River Teeth, The Cimarron Review, The MacGuffin, Delaware Beach Life, and Third Wednesday. He is the author of A Little Hope, which was a Read with Jenna Bonus Selection and A Quiet Life. He lives in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, with his wife and two daughters.
Praise for A Little Hope
Named a Best Book of 2021 by TODAY.com!
"A Little Hope gives an urgency to each character’s dilemmas and demonstrates that, although the personal issue is singular for the person facing it, human drama is not isolated in a community. What affects one person touches many. Caring pervades."
—California Review of Books
“This soft-spoken debut is a surprising page-turner, as your hopes for the cast of beleaguered small-town character build and burn bright. Its calm wisdom about bearing the toughest losses—sometimes lightened by unexpected gifts—makes this novel a comforting companion for difficult times.”
“Poignant and quietly powerful…Joella is particularly deft at deconstructing quiet moments in small-town life and amplifying their significance…[A Little Hope] impressively balances a cast of thoroughly realized personalities grappling with momentous events…these characters transform over time, make amends and see one another more honestly and fully. Their evolution is inspiring — and more than a tad hopeful.”
—New York Times Book Review
"A well-connected community of characters who feel like people you know or people you could be all strike a familiar and fully human chord... Joella’s poetic side shines in his moving novel... From beginning to end, A Little Hope finds the grace of the everyday and homes in on the surprises (both heavy and light) that each day can hold."
“In A Little Hope, a heartfelt, life-affirming novel, we follow the many stories of the inhabitants of a small Connecticut town…It is a beautiful novel, and as the title suggests, its moving characters and beautiful writing might just give you a little hope.”
—Alexandra Daddario, Book of the Month
"Joella has an eye and ear for suburban pathos, highlighting tragedy and growth in equal parts. . . . Joella pays particular attention to the aftershocks of loss in the residents' lives but he doesn't dwell on the maudlin. . . . readers of Meg Wolitzer will gravitate to this immersive, illuminating novel."
“The residents of a small Connecticut city navigate grief and hope in Joella’s tender debut, a series of vignettes marked by a sense of connection and community…Throughout, the overlapping story lines keep readers turning the pages.”
"Joella captures the rhythms of life in Wharton and is skilled at identifying both shifts in the weather and events that mark the passage of time in moments so subtle as to be almost undetectable. Readers who enjoy fiction that reflects the struggles and joys of their daily lives will find much that will resonate here."
"A Little Hope is a sweet and tender take on small town heartbreak, where everybody hurts, and everybody finds some saving comfort, whether in the world or in one another."
—Stewart O’Nan, author of The Night Country and Songs for the Missing
"Ethan Joella has written a powerful and compelling novel about people whose lives are on the cusp of collapse in this richly textured story of hope and love. A Little Hope is an absorbing, propulsive, and elegantly written debut. I absolutely loved it."
—Brandon Hobson, National Book Award finalist and author of The Removed
"Ethan Joella's emotional and riveting debut tells the story of the Tylers at the moment their lives change forever. It's all here—community, family and friendship, how we love, grieve, let go and hold on when fate takes its course. The author has crafted a story of ordinary moments that connect and eventually transform us in extraordinary ways. Forgiveness and redemption are the soul of this novel, but it's the love you will remember long after you put it down."
—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Lucia, Lucia and The Shoemaker's Wife
"A Little Hope is a quietly powerful portrait of small-town life, about how the private worries and dreams of a set of characters intersect, told with wisdom and tenderness."
—Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes
"I can't promise you won't cry, but I can promise deft, minimalist prose, flesh-and-blood characters you'll want to hug, and a love story for the ages. With A Little Hope, Ethan Joella establishes himself as an unforgettable new voice."
—Diana Spechler, author of Who by Fire and Skinny
"Wonderfully observed and immensely touching, A Little Hope is a beautiful portrait of the poignant moments in life that change us, move us, and connect us, written in deft and powerful prose. A true gem of a novel that I won’t soon forget."
—Ashley Audrain, author of The Push