Favorite author alert! Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward is a gorgeous book that I love, so I was really excited to read Hello Beautiful. With these two books, Napolitano has cemented herself among my favorite authors!
William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him. So it’s a relief when his skill on the basketball court earns him a scholarship to college, far away from his childhood home. He soon meets Julia Padavano, a spirited and ambitious young woman who surprises William with her appreciation of his quiet steadiness. With Julia comes her family; she is inseparable from her three younger sisters: Sylvie, the dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book and imagines a future different from the expected path of wife and mother; Cecelia, the family’s artist; and Emeline, who patiently takes care of all of them. Happily, the Padavanos fold Julia’s new boyfriend into their loving, chaotic household.
But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable loyalty to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?
Vibrating with tenderness, Hello Beautiful is a gorgeous, profoundly moving portrait of what’s possible when we choose to love someone not in spite of who they are, but because of it.
I couldn’t believe my luck when I was approved on NetGalley to read Hello Beautiful before it comes out in March. I loved Dear Edward so much (read my review), so I was very much looking forward to reading it!
First of all, the relationships in this book are so complicated and messy, but so real and beautiful. The four sisters at the heart of the story all have different relationships with each other, and Napolitano somehow captures each of those unique relationships and how they all fit together.
There’s one moment in this book that was just magical to me, when William and Sylvie are sitting together on a bench. In this ordinary moment, they see each other…like really see each other. It’s honestly one of the most subtly beautiful moments I’ve ever read in a book, and I think it’ll stand out to me forever. It was just so perfect!
Hello Beautiful is named for the girls’ father and how he’d greet them when they entered a room, who ends up not being in the story much, yet is this huge part of his daughters’ lives. I really felt that – how a parent can be not present, yet SO present.
The book takes place over decades. Sometimes, books that make such big time jumps are hard for me, because I feel like I need to know what happened in all those years in between that were skipped, but I didn’t really feel that way with this one. It was just sort of “normal life” continues, and you pick up where you need to.
Overall, I found this book to be pretty amazing. It was like a cozy family novel that I could pick up and fall into for a while (much like Little Women, which is referenced many times in Hello Beautiful), It’s largely character driven, but definitely has some events that happen to move things along. It’s about legacy, family, true love, grief, mental health, and more. I highly recommend Hello Beautiful and I think it would make a fantastic book club read. 5 full stars!