by Liza M. Wiemer
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: November 10, 2015 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
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Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma's death.
Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.
Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.
Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.
Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.
Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens' stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I can’t believe Hello? is a YA debut. It is extraordinary! The way Liza portrays different lives, each one so unique and inspiring is so beautiful and astonishing. This book has a lyrical writing to it with amazing characters and an original story that many readers will relate to.
I had heard about this book (mostly, had only seen the cover) but Nick from Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist gave a glowing review for this book, which motivated me to search for this book on Netgalley and it was still there for review! I immediately requested it, was approved the same day and started reading it as soon as it arrived on my iPad.
It took me a while to warm up to her character. She lost her family but when it really hit her hard was when her grandma passed away. Tricia went into a very severe depression, secluded herself from everyone including her friends, only letting her boyfriend Brian stay with her, but even that started to get to her. This loss made her change for the worse and she was struggling with her life in all its entirety. It wasn’t until halfway through the book that we slowly start noticing some mild changes in her character until finally she starts seeing the light. To a point, I related to Tricia. The depression she had was something similar to what I had, although it wasn’t because of a loss. Still, reading about her reminded me of that time in my life and it was hard reading about it because I read how she was affecting others in her life, same way as I did. Reading about her character finally shedding that darkness made me root for her so much because I knew she could be a great character once she realized that she could move on and remember her grandma and her family all at the same time.
If only every guy in the world could be like Emerson. *sighs dreamily* Emerson lives to make everyone happy, he sets out to always try to do the right thing for everyone. He is such a unique character! I don’t think I’ve ever read about a guy like Emerson in any book. He is so selfless, putting others before himself. From the first moment he appears in the book while talking to Tricia on the phone, I was intrigued in his character, how he had already started to care for her without knowing her. He also could have acted mean or gotten revenge against his ex for how his name was thrown in the mud but he never even thought about it. He just wanted to have peace with everyone. His character was ever so lovingly beautiful and he is probably the one I loved the most.
I had problems with this character. I wasn’t sure whether I liked him or not when I was reading about him in Tricia’s POV. Once he got his one voice, I started to really see how much he loved Tricia and how much this entire situation was affecting him deeply. Even though, I wasn’t invested in this character, I ended up caring for him to an extent. I loved how Liza incorporated some sketches in his chapters to bring this character to life with his side of the story.
This character was the toughest one of all. I wasn’t completely sold on her in the beginning and I wasn’t sure I was ever going to like her but wow! She slowly started to creep into my heart and once her past and her secrets were revealed, I wanted to hug her and never let go. Brenda has gone through a lot in her life and she kept it all a secret from everyone, which is why she is so secluded and keeps to herself most of the time. It broke my heart reading her story but I loved seeing her growing out of her shell and sharing her past with her friends.
Man, was I skeptical of Angie. She could be so self-centered! She was the least character I enjoyed reading about but learned to love all the same. At times, I could’ve done without her POV but ultimately, it added something to the story and the other characters. She started to see how her lies were affecting those she loved and she ended up being honest with everyone. She made mistakes she really wasn’t proud of in the end but she started correcting them. Angie is the most realistic character seeing as every person can relate to her. She’s human and makes mistakes like all of us. She made some character growth which lead for me to enjoy reading about her and the romance that started to spark.
Having multiple POV’s in a book can go either good or bad. I’m happy to say that Hello? definitely went on the great path because each chapter had its own uniqueness to it when it came to each character. Tricia’s, Brian’s and Emerson’s were normal but the reader can perfectly distinguish between the three of them. Now, with Angie we get a certain free-style prose in a poetic-looking stance and Brenda’s is done straight out of a script. It is safe to say this book is not one I had read before. I cannot say “unique” enough! I applaud Liza for writing this book and sharing it with the world. Many will remember this book forever and will stay in their hearts. It is thought-provoking for both teens and adults.
“You are my answer, Tricia. I just didn’t know I needed one until you called.”
“For you. As a reminder of your strength, courage, and for how much I love you. I hope, whenever you need a boost, you can look at it and know how much I believe in you. It’s a symbol too, for your dreams, that some day in the not-so-distant future, you’ll achieve them.”
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