Book Review: Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Book Review: Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Sometimes, you read a book that you know is well-written and enjoyed by most readers, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t get into it. This is how I felt about author Ann Napolitano’s Hello Beautiful. Although it was well-written with characters that many readers adored, I found myself bored throughout most of the book. How did it make Oprah’s book club list and not mine? Read my thoughts below.

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. []

Hello Beautiful follows the four Padavano sisters, who in some ways deliberately resemble the Little Women sisters, and William, who will become intertwined with their family in ways they could never have imagined as children. Each sister has her own story, complete with successes and failures, but the story is driven by the relationships between the characters and how their stories intersect. As each character ages, their relationship history and life decisions weigh heavily on them, and they must make a decision to change course before it’s too late.

Hello Beautiful was a well-written book with complex, believable, and relatable characters. Unfortunately, the story’s details never really piqued my interest, and by the end, I only finished the book to complete it. However, I recognize that my opinion is probably an outlier. Since so many people enjoyed the book, I recommend that you read other reviews before deciding whether to read it for yourself.

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