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Author: Ann Napolitano
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

After her bestseller Dear Edward, Ann Napolitano writes a tender and emotional story in ‘Hello Beautiful’ about family, love and the struggles that comes with it, echoing the classic novel Little Women 

I can guarantee anyone who reads this will finish the book in absolute disbelief. This heart wrenching family saga will leave you thinking about this story for days to come. 

The novel follows William Waters, a child who grew up in silence and neglected from his parents due to their previous loss. He begins to find love and comfort through basketball by going to the local nets where many boys his age play. As quoted in the book, “William, may have had no idea who he was, but the world had told him: He was a basketball player”. His hard work truly paid off as he got a scholarship to addend college in Chicago, thankful that he gets to escape the depths of the turmoil his parents have caused him. William later meets and falls in love with Julia Padavano, the eldest of four sisters in a tightly knit family. 

This is where the book really begins to take off. As William received no love from his biological parents, he finds a home and family figure through the Padavano sisters. Julia and her sisters are as close as can be. Her sister Sylvie is a hopeless romantic who spends most of her days in the library reading and kissing boys she will never date. There’s also twin sisters Emeline and Cecilla, who have big hearts and always support the others no matter the circumstances.  

While written in third-person, the novel tells the perspective from the four different leads, each chapter focusing on their surroundings and what is happening to them at that point. 

A theme that I completely adored was the question asked by the characters on whether you can choose who you love or not. The female protagonist, Sylvie, says “It’s hard for me to accept the fact that we don’t choose who we love, because who you love changes everything,” and I believe that will stick with me for a long time. Another standout theme of Napolitano’s novel was mental health and how it doesn’t just affect you, but it affects the ones you love. 

The few pacing problems in this book are the only complaint I have. Some important events in the novel were addressed in just three phrases or less, giving the impression that many significant events in their life were either missing or not mentioned at all. While the other two main characters, William and Sylvie, were enjoyable to read about and left me wanting more, the oldest sister Julia was, at best, completely infuriating. 

This book did in fact almost bring me to tears, but is not exactly sad, it is more touching and provoking on one’s emotions. The novel can bring so many different feelings to anyone who reads this as it will also give you peace and put a smile on your face at certain parts. So please take my advice and read this book today. I have not read a book in a long time that kept me that hooked throughout the entirety of it. I devoured this book in three days not wanting to put it down. 

“Grief is love.”
“Forgiveness is too.”.