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Posted October 21, 2013
I have this thing where I like to guess what rating I'm going to give a book after I finish it. So after reading about fifty pages, I took a guess. I liked it but I wasn't hooked so three stars easy. But then I kept reading....
After Hello is the most beautiful book I have ever read. Watching Sara and Sam come to terms with their pasts and growing closer was a complete pleasure. The two are so alike yet they look at things differently.
The pacing was spot on - never too slow or too fast. In fact, I'd describe it as flowing. Everything, even when they were pressed for time, felt like an easy flow. Even when Sara and Sam didn't have a lot of time, they still took the time to appreciate each other and the life around them. Following their story was as gentle as following the breeze. I didn't exactly know where it would take me, and neither did they, but it was easy and wonderful to watch their story unfold.
Both Sam and Sara have baggage but neither of them wear it on their sleeves. They spend a whole twenty four hours together but they were talking and getting to know each other during that time. They were helping each other work through the difficulties of life and their current situation. They were their for each other no matter what ugly memory decided to rear its head. Like Sam, I too believe that these characters were kindred spirits.
This wasn't a love story. After Hello is about two people overcoming barriers that kept them from truly being happy. Yes, they eventually kiss, and quite honestly, I wanted that to happen long before the end, but Lisa Mangum can write a love story even when a book isn't about the love story. She held and protected that first kiss until the perfect moment. That moment was beautiful and full of possibilities for both characters. And those possibilities were simply beautiful.
Posted October 21, 2013
Oftentimes, I read a book knowing what I'm getting into, but there are those rare occasions when I start a book knowing little to nothing about it and then receiving a nice, shiny surprise. After Hello is definitely one of the latter.
Within the first few pages, Lisa Mangum's writing already stood out to me. It was perfect for Sara and Sam's unique story, and awe-inspiring too as this is one of those books that's basically a convolution of quotable quotes. Seriously. If I copied down every beautiful passage After Hello has in to my quote notebook, I'd have no problem filling it. But the writing is just the tip of the iceberg, because what makes this book a real gem is the story it tells.
I don't know how she did it, but with the way the author wrote After Hello, she made Sara and Sam totally distinct from one another and yet seeming like they're one person—or maybe that's because they're kindred spirits, as they both thought. They each obviously had their own demons, two of the many secrets that I wanted to unearth as I read this, and they both also felt like very real, breathing teenagers. Actually, all of the characters in this book felt like very real, breathing people, and for a story set in a bustling city like New York, I imagine that's not easy to achieve.
Sara and Sam's romance might seem insta-love-ish to some but for me, it wasn't. It was insta-connection, something to be envied, not questioned, because really, how often is it that you find someone and feel like you've known them your entire life? And that's exactly how it went for these two damaged, young people as they chanced upon something that they both unknowingly needed, something innocent and reluctant and slow-burning but all the more captivating.
Dianne had already warned me about it, and it was certainly inevitable with Sara and Sam's situations, yet the ending still surprised me. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, but it was the right conclusion to this splendid story that I will surely revisit in the future.
MY FAVORITE PART is the last scene. Like I said, bittersweet.
Posted October 5, 2013
"That's New York for you. This city inspires its own kind of crazy."
I was immediately drawn in by the cover of After Hello. I'm head-over-heels in love with New York City and I can't help but smile when I see one of its landmarks on a book cover. As soon as I read the blurb for the book, I knew I had to read it. I'm a photographer, so the fact that the main female character and I shared that hobby (or, habit as I prefer to call it), made me think I would likely connect with this book. I wasn't wrong. Seeing as it's set in my favorite city on the planet, one I love to photograph, didn't hurt either. :)
"At the risk of sounding like a motivational poster, life is an adventure."
This book reminded me so much of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. It had the same feeling as those two, and it was more than just that it was set in NYC. Each of these books brought together strangers for an adventure of one type or another. The plots were nothing alike, but the feelings it gave me were. The writing styles were similar, so I can say for sure, if you enjoyed Nick & Norah and/or Dash & Lily, you should absolutely pick this book up.
"My dad taught me to never talk to strangers," she said lightly.
"We're all strangers in the beginning."
"Then what are we in the end?"
"We'll have to see when we get there."
After Hello is the story of Sara and Sam. Sara is visiting NYC for the first time. She's there with her father, who is there for business. They have a laundry list of things to do in the city, but he gets held up in meetings and she starts exploring the city on her own. Just a girl and her camera. (Something I've done several times myself. It's amazing.) Sam catches Sara's eye and she snaps his photo. He strikes up a conversation by playfully accusing her of stealing his soul. She's spunky and tells him she's not sorry, something he respects, and they begin to chat more. He invites her to tag along with him while he does his job, thus beginning their one-day adventure. And boy, it's an adventure.
"But a quest can be for anything - knowledge, love, a ham sandwich - not just a dragon's lair or a magical ring."
Sam finds things. Be it a book, artwork, treasure maps, event tickets, a person... it's what he does. He's good at it. He trades to get what he wants and needs. It's really very creative to read how he gets what he's looking for by making some very interesting trades. It's like life is a big puzzle he's just waiting to solve. I absolutely loved Sam.
"Because you can never go back. You can only go forward."
What Sara wants more than anything is to find her mom. Her mom left them when she was younger. She doesn't know why. Her relationship with her dad is strained because he's not there much. He works all the time and he's disappointed her on this trip. She begins to think that maybe, just maybe, Sam can help her find her mom. I mean, he finds things after all. It's a tall order, but she's hopeful. At the risk of spoiling any of the adventure for you, I'm not going to say any more about the plot of the book. It was fun and fast-paced. There was a bit of a "coming of age" story feel to it for Sara - and for Sam, to some extent. I loved spending the day in New York with them. I devoured this book.
"Why did New York feel more like home to me than home did? I'd heard of love at first sight, but I didn't know it could happen with a whole city."
New York is such a fantastic setting for a book. Any book. The city becomes a character itself. There's an amazing energy in New York at all hours of the day. I felt like that energy leapt off the pages of this book. I felt like I was there, in the midst of Sara and Sam's adventure. (Side note: this quote is one of my favorite book quotes, ever. It perfectly sums up my feelings about that beautiful city.)
"I'm still not sorry I stole your soul," she said. "But I'm glad I was able to give it back."
This book left me with such a happy feeling. That, and the desperate need for a sequel. The entire concept was unique to me. The story wasn't completely predictable in that way romances can be. The romance was sweet and innocent, real. Sara and Sam shared the type of connection that is entirely possible after a single day. The characters were fantastic. Sara and Sam were both totally lovable and complex, but real. The side characters were interesting and well-written. I definitely connected with the characters in this book. I need to know more about them! The descriptions of New York were spot-on. The dialogue between the characters was fun and playful, completely realistic. If you're looking for a light, clean book with a hint of romance and adventure, I can't recommend this one highly enough.
***I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.***
Posted July 9, 2013
I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me that even the small things in life are important. Sam and Sara said and did a lot of meaningfil things. I seriously cried when I finished this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 9, 2013
This is a really sweet story about two young adults, Sara & Sam, who meet and spend a day together in NYC.
The story takes place in one day. It’s amazing how so much happens, but it really goes together well. I didn’t feel the book was rushed, in fact, I found it to be a slow read.
Throughout the day, Sara & Sam form a friendship that helps them deal with problems they are dealing with. I loved how just simple words or events could have such an impact on helping them each overcome their fears. It was a friendship I enjoyed watching unfold.
As a parent, one thing I found interesting was how Sara was affected by her mother leaving and how her father never talked about it. I easily sided with the father, but it really got me thinking about what kids, or teens, go through. As parents, we try to protect kids by not involving them in ‘adult’ issues, but in reality we may be causing more hurt and stress than we realize. In ‘After Hello’ we see Sara’s feelings and the effect it has on her, and for me, the father/daughter moment is what affected me the most in this book.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a nice, clean read. I would recommend this mostly for teens, or anyone who enjoys reading YA novels.
Disclaimer: I won this book through a blog contest, and all opinions are my own.
Posted January 28, 2013
Posted December 4, 2012
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Deseret Book and Netgalley.)
Sara is in New York with her father. He has a meeting, trying to sell his website to some other guys, and she’s waiting to have lunch with him and go sightseeing. Her dad cancels though – he’s still in his meeting, so Sara boldly follows a guy (Sam) who comes out of a bookstore wearing a hoodie with her favourite band’s name on it.
They begin talking, and Sara finds out that Sam is good at locating things, and he also likes to trade. He says he can get hold of anything he wants, and Sara goes along with him to drop off the book that he had located for a client.
The client turns out to be a famous actress, and Sara somehow finds herself saddled with a quest to find an original, signed piece of artwork to hang above her fireplace, by the end of the day. If she doesn’t, she will fire her assistant (who is Sam’s brother.)
Can Sara get what the actress wants and save Sam’s brother’s job? And how will Sara feel about Sam when the day is over?
This is the kind of book where you are thrown right into the story, and you then find out about the characters as the story progresses, and as they get to know each other.
Sara had the problem that her father didn’t spend much time with her because of his business, and she never understood why her mother left her. Sam was living in New York with his brother, following an incident back at home that changed his life, and the life of four of his friends.
Sam and Sara told each other their stories, and opened up to each other, which seemed to be therapeutic for both of them.
The blurb for this book speaks about a ‘relationship’ between the two characters, but I felt that their relationship was just friendship until right at the very end. This book doesn’t really come across as a romance in my opinion, but focuses more on Sam’s ‘trading’, and Sara’s relationship with her father.
There is also something about Sara being a ‘seeker’ and Sam being a ‘finder’, which makes the story sound a lot different to what it really is. Sara is in fact an amateur photographer, who likes to find a beautiful picture, while Sam is in fact more of a trader – he trades things with people for stuff that he wants, or more frequently, what other people want.
I really dislike blurbs sometimes!
I thought that the idea of this book was good, but the actual story itself was only okay. I disliked that we didn’t really know much about Sara or Sam to begin with, and their ‘quest’ to find the artwork was a little lack-lustre. I really didn’t feel the romance angle either, and the ending was a little heart breaking.
Overall; this was an interesting day in the life of two teens, but certainly not one of my favourites.
5 out of 10.