One HELLO? can change a life. One HELLO? can save a life.
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.
Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian).
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, this does not influence my review or thoughts on the book.
DNF at 40%.
Hello? has an interesting premise and writing but unfortunately, I could not relate to the plot and characters as I got further into the novel. The novel surrounds 5 different teens as they struggle to deal with their personal histories and current relationships. I enjoyed the first bit of the novel but as more POVs were revealed, I found myself disliking the plot more and more.
What I will say is that I think the writing was well-done and it’s very easy to distinguish between the five point of views which I immensely enjoyed. I just couldn’t connect to some of the characters myself.
-SOME MINOR PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD- (sorry, there’s no other way for me to write this explanation)
First off, the novel starts with Trisha, a teen dealing with her grandmother’s death. Feeling panicked, she calls her grandmother’s old number to see if anyone will pick up and someone does, Emerson. Emerson and Trisha have a conversation after which Emerson resolves to finally dump his girlfriend (Angie) and Emerson grows to want to keep talking to Trisha, even though he promised to change his number. Personally, I saw this whole start as very insta-lovey. I get that Emerson felt a personal bond with Trisha but that does not mean he should already want to know her as more than a friend (which he explicitly states) after one phone conversation. I find it semi-believable but mostly ridiculous. Trisha’s POV is very important because it does deal with suicide but I didn’t like Emerson’s side of this conversation.
The main reason I DNFed though is the plotline with Brenda. Brenda is a budding actress and screenplay writer. When Emerson and Angie break up (I already mentioned he resolved to dump her above), Emerson tells Angie that Brenda is gay. I was a bit confused because (how does that in any way relate to their plotline and who does Emerson think he is trying to out someone wtf and) it just did not fit into the story. There becomes this whole plotline where Brenda has to defend herself and repeatedly claim that no she is not gay and it just frustrates me because a) it seems to have very little relevance to the plot (at least where I am so far) and b) I find it extremely irksome that a character’s sexuality is in dispute or even in question without their permission. If someone wants to talk about their sexuality, let them do it on their own and in a nice and open discussion, not an accusatory one where you spread rumours. Soon after, Brenda reveals to her cousin that she doesn’t find anyone attractive which maybe means there will be some asexual representation? I don’t know. I stopped reading when we find out about Brenda’s past (i.e. what the synopsis tells us is her main focus of the story) and I was not comfortable with it. I’ll include her past in spoiler brackets here: View Spoiler » her past seems to be some sort of sexual harassment/assault when she was a minor and I do not want another book where a person questioning their sexuality has to go through this. It’s just a personal taste about the books I read. « Hide Spoiler
-MINOR SPOILERS END-
Overall, Hello? seems to be an interesting and important book that most people will enjoy but honestly, I could not relate to the plot lines because of my own personal taste. Based on other reviews, it seems that most people do enjoy this one and it does tackle some very important issues of suicide (at least in Trisha’s POV, which most people do seem to like the most) but some of the plotlines really did not go with my personal taste.