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A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
Contemporary fiction

A Little Hope

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Ethan Joella, on your first book!

by Ethan Joella

Quick take

An ode to the beauty of the everyday, this novel traces the losses, loves, and dreams of a small Connecticut town.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad


Why I love it

Alexandra Daddario
Actor, White Lotus and True Detective

In A Little Hope, a heartfelt, life-affirming novel, we follow the many stories of the inhabitants of a small Connecticut town. Each chapter is devoted to someone new—a woman whose husband has just been diagnosed with cancer, her husband’s high-powered boss and his illegitimate child, a local business owner with ties to everyone in the community, and more. If this all sounds dizzying, it is all the more testament to the excellent writing that seamlessly blends these stories together.

At the heart of it, this is a novel about the resiliency of love and the human spirit. We love each other, love who is left, love who we can, and do the best we can do, however that may be possible. This does not mean that we aren't changed, of course, and we see into the minds of those who have lost and see the scars that are left and how they persevere. Especially after the bruising last eighteen months, which, I suspect, have left us all looking for connection and meaning, this felt especially relatable.

What I love about this book is its emotional truths—at times deeply sad, the novel is simultaneously soothing as it speaks honestly of the everyday celebrations and tragedies of each character’s life. The author captures so well what it is like to be young, to get married for the first time, to lose your first love, and to find your head spinning at having lost the freedom and carelessness of your 20s. It is a beautiful novel, and as the title suggests, its moving characters and beautiful writing might just give you a little hope.

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In the small city of Wharton, Connecticut, lives are beginning to unravel. A husband betrays his wife. A son struggles with addiction. A widow misses her late spouse. At the heart of these interlinking stories is one couple: Freddie and Greg Tyler.

Greg has just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a brutal form of cancer. He intends to handle this the way he has faced everything else: through grit and determination. But can Greg successfully overcome his illness? How will Freddie and their daughter cope if he doesn’t? How do the other residents of Wharton learn to live with loss, and find happiness again?

An emotionally powerful debut that immerses the reader into a community of friends, family, and neighbors, A Little Hope celebrates the importance of small moments of connection and the ways that love and forgiveness can help us survive even the most difficult of life’s challenges.

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Get an early look from the first pages of A Little Hope.

Member thoughts

All (4357)
All (4357)
Love (1973)
Like (2042)
Dislike (342)
4392 ratings
  • 45% Love
  • 46% Like
  • 8% Dislike
  • Indianapolis, IN

    I am smitten with this story! The words flowed so easily it reminded me of Ann Patchett’s writing. The interwoven stories full of heartbreak and hope captivated me and I couldn’t stop. Sad it’s over!

  • Charlotte, NC

    I have never read a book quite like this. It was extremely refreshing, thought provoking, and heart wrenching. It made me realize how events affect people’s lives so differently. Grateful to have read

  • Spring Arbor, MI

    Joella delivered a book filled with realistic tragedies yet the constant reminder of those in life who impact in small but big ways — I didn’t shed a tear, but felt the love radiate from the pages.

  • Grand Forks, ND

    Joella’s book fully encompasses the heartbreak, joy, worry and hope we feel in our day to day lives. I could connect with parts of every character’s inner thoughts. Simply Incredible…a must read!

  • Frisco, TX

    You just never know the pain that people carry around with them. I kept thinking this as I read this story. I was afraid it was going to push the tragic moments over the edge but grateful it didn’t.

  • Columbus Junction , IA

    I enjoyed all of the characters here. So much about grief but living despite it. I do wish I could have gotten to know some of these characters better, but this intrigue is also what kept me reading.

  • Sachse, TX

    A Little Hope by Ethan Joella is such a beautiful story. I loved these characters. They are real and their stories are told in a very honest way. This is about love, loss, and ties that connect us all

  • Troy, IL

    Each chapter is a vignette of various people struggling with the challenges of life in small town Wharton. There's a couple facing a battle with cancer, people trying to find true love, etc. Heartfelt

  • Gobles, MI

    I love the exploration of the characters lives and how they were all intertwined in a way. The story was more emotional than I thought but I still loved it. But it felt like it was missing something.

  • Topeka, KS

    This was a very pure and heartfelt book. Normally I like to focus solely on single characters but it was really interesting the way Mr. Joelle did this. It's not easy to find hope in difficult times.

  • Petal , MS

    This is my favorite read in recent memory. It was raw and real, and I connected with the characters. The inner monologue of each character was easy to read, and didn’t feel forced or cliche. LOVE!

  • Baton Rouge, LA

    Truly a beautiful debut. This book reminded me that everyone is going through something, and it reminded me to be kind to others and thankful for what I have. A great choice for the holiday season.

  • Harlan, KY

    This won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it was mine. It's a small-town, character-driven meditation on the dance between hope & grief, joy & sadness, & love. Makes you appreciate the little things.

  • Chesterfield , MO

    I love how the chapter titles are built into the story of each chapter. Such a small book that touches such a big part of me. ALH requires study which makes sense as Joella is a writing professor.

  • Pleasanton, CA

    Ethan Joella writes a gripping novel of grief, love, and connection with a merry-go-round cast of characters. The narrative dances between all the different characters with such ease and brilliance.

  • Chesterland , OH

    I really enjoyed the way this book makes you think on a deeper level and puts things into perspective from so many viewpoints. I love the way the author weaved all the characters stories together.

  • Plant City, FL

    The list could go on and on, the reasons I loved this book. I wanted to know every character more and more. It was written and flowed perfectly. I couldn’t put it down nor did I want to. Fabulous.

  • Crestwood, KY

    This author gives honest voice and weight to the feelings that expose our humanity during the heaviest seasons of life and made me feel seen. The connected storylines were expertly woven together.

  • St. Davids, PA

    I read this book slower than I do most because I wanted to savor every word. It is by far one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read! The comparison to This is Us is 100% accurate.

  • Arlington, VA

    This book was, hands down, one of my favorites of 2021 (I’ve read 50 so far). Such a well-written story of love, loss, happiness, and sadness. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.

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