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Neon in Daylight

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,646 ratings  ·  211 reviews

New York City in 2012, the sweltering summer before Hurricane Sandy hits. Kate, a young woman newly arrived from England, is staying in a Manhattan apartment while she tries to figure out her future. She has two unfortunate responsibilities during her time in America: to make regular Skype calls to her miserable boyfriend back home, and to cat-sit an indifferent feline nam

Kindle Edition
Published January 9th 2018 by Catapult
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Average rating 3.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,646 ratings  ·  211 reviews

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Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel -- the East Village vibe, the eccentricity (and authenticity) of Inez and Kate and Bill, the utterly beautiful writing throughout. This is not just a jaw-dropingly good first novel; it's a jaw-droppingly good novel, period. ...more
Jessica Woodbury
My review includes the following important caveats: I don't really like books where New York City is a character, where it's revered as something special and magical. That perspective definitely had an impact on how I experienced the book.

There is one really important thing I look for when I'm reading. I want a voice. I want to be pulled in. I want a book to grab me. I'm not very patient about it either, I want to feel that compulsion to turn pages right away. Hoby accomplished that. I tend to g
Julie Ehlers
Feb 19, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
To me this book seemed peopled with types more than characters: the sad-sack divorced middle-aged man, the beautiful very young woman who gets away with anything because of her beauty, the somewhat older, more vanilla young woman who idolizes the beautiful woman. Yet, I cannot deny that this book provided an immersive experience of New York City: Even now, months later, I still feel the sweltering, oppressive urban summer when I think of this book. It was good! Looking forward to reading Hoby's ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
After turning the last page of Neon in Daylight, I realized I had developed a love/hate relationship with this book.

So let’s start with the “love. Hermione Hoby can write and she’s not afraid to take risks with her characters. Although she is not a native New Yorker, she channels the New York vibe and her style is edgy, witty in places, and often compulsively page-turning.

At the core of her novel is a triangle: young Kate, a London transplant, who is spending the summer in her mother’s friend’
Erin Glover
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"[I]n the laughably egregious condescension of telling her what it was she did not want to do, he had succeeded only in letting her know that she had no choice but to do it." Once Kate's boyfriend, George, told her this, she found herself hopping the pond from England to Manhattan to housesit a cat named Joni Mitchell. Flush with her dead grandmother's money, and a PhD, she had no plan. Her first thought to take "a shortcut to poise or personality" was to buy a pack of cigarettes. That's when sh ...more
Janelle Janson
NEON DAYLIGHT by Hermione Hoby - Thank you so much to Catapult for providing my free copy—all opinions are my own.

“He pocketed the note and kept it, as a way of honoring unrequited, late-adolescent love. Which she’d look back on in twenty years’ time, most likely, with humor and affection. It’s never love, as soon as you feel the next love. Because isn’t that a prerequisite of the condition? That you tell yourself everything that came before wasn’t really it.”

Kate moved from England to find her
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Well. It least it was a quick read. It is truly hard to fathom how such a boring, uninteresting book like this ever got published.
The story takes place in NYC between a hot summer and hurricane Sandy not that it mattered and neither event has any baring on the story, but the book is about 3 terribly stereotypical, boring, self absorbed people.
Kate is visiting from England, staying at a friend of her mothers place while the friend is doing her mid life crisis Eat, Pray, Love world trip- the autho
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wish that young writers would not write books in which one of the main characters is a writer. I’m also sick of books featuring relationships between young women and older successful male writers. STOP IT! So yeah, this had some moments but it lacked what I want and need in my fiction. I found it hard to care about any of the characters and was pretty disengaged from beginning to end.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
When I finished this book I looked up hermione hoby to see if maybe she was a poet — the prose is so gorgeous I couldn't help but wonder. ...more
Brittany | thebookishfiiasco
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘She felt weird today and she did not know why. And not knowing was making her feel insane, twitchy. It was something, Inez thought, about having made Kate tea. Because she kept thinking about it—that tea with the moronic bear on the box, lolling in its pajamas and frilly nightcap. Now she realized that she had never made someone a cup of tea before this moment. That was just a plain fact and it seemed significant. The thing was, it had made her feel much older, suddenly, to do this for Kate, ju ...more
Kathleen Flynn
I was aware of this novel from a distance, as one that received many rapturous reviews when it came out early last year and then seemed to vanish, to sink beneath the waves of all the other books coming out every day. But I was not curious enough to read it until I read a recent interview with the author in which she said, among other things:

"I fucking hate Jane Austen. But maybe that’s more the fault of simpering BBC dramas than Jane Austen herself, whom I haven’t read since I was like, fourte
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5, rounded up. For a first novel this is largely successful in what it tried to do - but then, it doesn't really attempt much other than to be a sort of hip, flippant update on the 'Bright Light, Big City'/'Sex & the City' vibe. The characters are all rather superficial and you have to take the author's word on them being intellectual, since none of them say anything very profound. It's the kind of breezy 'beach read' that college girls will adore, but anyone with a little life experience will ...more
Siena Mirabella
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
2 & a half stars i think. i mean i don’t hate it but like... what? this book was kind of unfulfilled chaos, nice prose but plot & characters were lacking
Michelle Hart
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was ok

so much squandered potential. setting your novel in manhattan should not/does not grant the narrative automatic significance. there's no plot, no sympathetic characters, no strong sense of place beyond the author knowing the names of some city streets. dialogue is horrendous. worst of all, the novel just doesn't SAY anything; aimlessness seems to be its plot and point. neon in daylight exemplifies the worst impulses of young writers.
lucky little cat
A New York version of Mrs. Dalloway, this novel focuses on twenty-something-year-old Kate. A recently arrived Londoner, Kate is both stunned by and ravenously curious about city life among artists and students. Not a sight or sound is wasted on her. The novel catches her just as she's turning into an experienced adult, complete with choices to make about (view spoiler). Lyrical. ...more
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book was really bad for me. The worst book I have read in a long time. Nothing happened. I felt nothing for the characters. The synopsis was so promising— a sweltering summer in New York, an interesting premise where a girl is friends with a daughter and dates the dad but not everyone knows until the end. The ending was awful. The dialogue was painful. Everything was a cliche— coming to NYC to find yourself, the sketch of each character, working in a coffee shop but supporting yourself by r ...more
Elaine - Small Farm Big Life
Neon in Daylight starts right into the story from the very beginning. The problem is I have no idea what that story was supposed to be. I restarted this book twice and checked to make sure I wasn't missing the beginning on my kindle.

The story isn't engaging. I didn't feel drawn to any of the characters. This is a very rare time that I didn't finish this book. There were too many other good books waiting for me on my nightstand.

Overall, Neon in Daylight was highly disappointing.
Forsyth Harmon
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book glows with all the gorgeousness, gruesomeness and humor that it is to be human.
So I really liked this one and was quite surprised to scroll through the other reviews and see such a mixed bag. Hoby is smart and quick and has some great turns of phrase. Her characters are a little stereo-typed: young Kate is mousy, but intellectual; Inez is the wildcat, but with deeper values; and Bill is the walking mid-life crisis. BUT, their interactions are real and their desires valid and their own inability to understand their own interactions and desires even yet more real.

I thought t
Laurie Naranjo
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
"...she's said "Absolutely" into the screen like she knew, like yeah, she totally knew. As though she were the kind of person who was up for it and down for it. The kind of person who wouldn't be troubled, for instance, over how those two semantically opposed phrases could have come to mean, in essence, the exact same thing."

I'd actually give this 4.25 stars.

Ann Patchett said this book had her "spellbound" and that sentiment is spot on. I was captivated by the characters. So interested in Kate
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, nyc, summer
I feel like I've read some variation of this book a thousand times already. A lot of the ~poignant observations of everyday life in the big city~ just came off as bald attempts to use another set of six-dollar words. True story: my brother lost a spelling bee in one of its final rounds on the word "efflorescence", and now I can say I've actually seen it in print for the first time in my life. Do less. ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an odd book to review, because it did some things so very well, and other things poorly.

Neon in Daylight, (a novel by a first-time author that releases next week) takes place in NYC in the Summer and Fall of 2012. It's told through the rotating perspective of three characters-- two young women and a middle-aged man.

Hermione Hoby writes beautifully. I found her descriptions of the mundane delightful. I laughed when I realized she had moved me with a character's description of a bathroo
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Almost Amazing

This story has a lot going for it. I don't want to spoil any plot points because going into it not knowing what I was getting into made me enjoy it more... Or at least I assume so. Hoby's writing is fantastic, and kept me reading even when the plot came close to becoming boring (which it seldom did). I really enjoyed the use of multiple perspectives, and the exploration of city life. There are some themes here that have been mishandled by other writers that are explored with maturi
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I think the writing was great, Hoby is a descriptive and thoughtful writer and I connected with a lot of the thought and insights she had about NYC as a place. That being said, I wanted so much more from the characters. They all felt like caricatures of people and I just wanted more background on them. I liked the way she wove the three stories together, but it felt like the moment when they realize their connection to one another was just breezed over. And I couldn’t quite fully understand how ...more
Anthony Crupi
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars for Hoby's prose style, which in its zeppelin-mooring-against-a-purple-sky lushness and sentiment is reminiscent of Chabon's debut, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Zero stars for characters who are forever walking around Manhattan *barefoot*. No tortured metaphor or windy trope is worth having to stave off so many waves of nausea. ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
I think I’d enjoy this book more if it had less of a GIRLS vibe – while I enjoyed how the book captured summer in alphabet city, I wished that it had more depth and complexity to the story. I had trouble embracing Kate as a main character, and didn’t love the “take drugs to find yourself” undercurrent to the novel.
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-reads
2.5 because I did finish it and for some reason hoped for closure or any feeling by the end but alas all I feel is bored. Story is full of ennui in NYC; not really original yet that kind of thing is usually my jam but it was too self indulgent and pretentious. No one changes and it all seems pointless which is maybe the “point”.
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book and its writing is stunning. I didn't think there was anything that could make me miss the magic of NYC summers more than I already do, and yet this did just that. ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Novel for narcotic times in NEW YORK CITY

The opening to this novel packs a punch and is probably one of the best and sharpest openers to a book I have read.

Kate is British, studying in England but has reached a bit of an impasse in her life and in her relationship with boyfriend George. She has been given the opportunity to cat sit in an apartment in New York (where she is looking after the feline Joni Mitchell) and happily descends on the city to ponder her future. A chance encounter in a park
Nov 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
I generally enjoy reading about “nothing.”

Which is to say I generally enjoy character driven contemporary fiction that is all about people hanging out, doing a whole lot of mundane shit, and letting their relationships spin out and grow from the ‘every day.’

The caveat with that is that they have to be good characters to begin with. The progression of relationships have to make sense. If you’re going to write a character driven story then let the characters drive the story.

Neon in Daylight has th
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