Close’s novel carries a deceptively light tone. Yes, it’s a comedy, and yes, it’s a relationship novel, but it’s so timely and so wonderfully realized that The Hopefuls isn’t just those things. It’s too good — too important — to be relegated as a work of genre. The Hopefuls captures the competition and ambition of today’s political environment, and that tension builds as the novel progresses. Close writes with a heightened awareness of how rooted the very nature of political struggle is within our very national identity.
The Hopefuls is a hilarious gripefest about what it feels like to be caught in the gravitational pull of Washington ... [the] winking humor and especially the real affection between Beth and Matt make The Hopefuls a pleasure to read. Close has a light, precise touch about the way a young marriage works when the partners are caught between old ideals and new realities ... Unfortunately, leaving D.C. robs the novel of its rich satirical milieu — the Texas setting is not as entertaining — and it cramps the story into the narrow confines of a souring friendship ... The Hopefuls offers a welcome mixture of humor and wisdom about the good people who run this country — or, for some reason, want to.
...[a] quietly captivating novel ... Close, whose husband worked on Obama’s campaign, uses her knowledge of this world—and her experience as an outsider—expertly. Beth’s conversational narration feels like peering into the diary of someone who shares your deepest insecurities.