Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Published: March 14, 2023

The Dial Press

Genre: Women’s Literary Fiction

Pages: 416

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Ann Napolitano is the author of Dear Edward, which was an instant New York Times bestseller, a Read with Jenna selection, and is now an Apple TV+ series. She is also the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. For seven years, Napolitano was the associate editor of the literary magazine One Story, and she received an MFA from New York University. She has taught fiction writing at Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and Gotham Writers Workshop.

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 when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it’s as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family, as she and her three sisters are inseparable: Sylvie, the family’s dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book; Cecelia is a free-spirited artist; and Emeline patiently takes care of them all. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos.

But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable devotion 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?

“It occurred to him, for the first time, that just because you never thought about someone didn’t mean they weren’t inside you.”

Julia is studious and in control. She always has a plan, and she is focused on getting what she wants. Sylvie is bookish and determined to find her one true love. She isn’t worried about anything along the way, she knows the real thing is out there, and she will find it. Celeste and Emeline are connected in a way no one understands. Twins share a bond that is unbreakable and strong. William has always felt less than others. His parents were disconnected and uninterested, so he found happiness in basketball.

Whew. This was a beautiful novel. I devoured this book, unable to find a good place to pause. The story grabs your heart and weaves its way into your soul.

I loved the characters and the things they represented. This was a beautiful story about family, friends, love, forgiveness, growing up, and acceptance.

The connection the sisters had was so pure and strong. They loved each other through a poor upbringing and life’s challenges. Nothing, not time or distance, could break their connection.

There were several moments in this novel where it punched me in my heart. Moments where the air was ripped from my chest, and I was left in tears.

There were even more moments where this novel wrapped me in love and comfort and put me back together. This is a book club dream book—so many themes, aspects, and levels to discuss.

Every reader will connect with some level of this book, and it beautifully spans decades, telling this story. This was such a lovely puzzle of emotion, connection, and love.

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