Book Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Title: November 9
Author: Colleen Hoover @colleenhoover @AtriaBooks
Genre: New Adult
Length: 310 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars


Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day of her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

Grace Review
A story of acceptance and forgiveness, with flaws and all, under the constraints of one day per year.  This is a story that will make you laugh and break your heart repeatedly.  It will frustrate you, challenge your own level of forgiveness, and give you hope.  Can two people make it past November 9th?

Fallon is a shy and insecure character, whose confidence was stolen one tragic night. She is left with both physical and emotional scars from that night that changed her life.  But it’s not until two years later, when a stranger enters her life, that she is able to look at the day without pain.

Fed up with overhearing Fallon’s Dad spew word vomit at her, Benton “Ben” comes into Fallon’s life, in the most unlikely of ways.  The moment could have been brief, and the two could have walked away from each other, but something clicks between them and they make the most of it.  Ben is the first person to treat Fallon’s scars with something other than horror or pity.  His comments of her beauty and desire to see the color of her panties seemed genuine and funny.

The early banter between them is one of my favorite parts of the story:
“Oh my God,” she says.  “You can’t come to Pinkberry and just eat topping.”  She looks up at me like I’ve killed a kitten. “Are you even human?”
I roll my eyes and nudge her shoulder to turn her back around. “Stop berating me or I’ll dump you before we even find a table.”

During their brief time together, they encourage each other to chase their dream, Fallon’s to become a Broadway actor, Ben’s to become a writer in LA.  They also make a promise to each other to meet up again one year later, with no connection in-between. I’ll admit, I struggled with this part.  While, I sort of understood their reasons for it, eliminating distractions to get to their end goals, I didn’t see how emailing each other or Facebooking could be an issue.  And as the story progresses and the angst ramps up, this became even harder to fathom. But right or wrong, the author stays with the concept.

“You can’t leave yet.  I’m not finished falling in love with you.”

Their idea of a one day connection leads to their joint idea for Ben to write their story.  I loved how they tied this to romance books, bonding on themes that I see every day as a blogger.  Insta-love, HEAs, the Alpha’s claim – “I own you.”

“Fallon, we’ve been dating for two hours now.  I can read you like a book, and right now I do believe that book is full of erotica.”

This story itself is only written on that day of every year.  We don’t see what has transpired in their separate lives.  This was truly different as you feel the uncertainty the character must have felt, waiting for the other to show up.  Did their goal get fulfilled?  Did they do their homework? (this will make sense when you read it)  And the hardest question, did they fall in love?

A series of good and bad occurrences that impact their yearly meetings.   While their total hours spent together are short, the connection builds year by year.  However, their self-imposed separation creates a lot of heartache.  This drove me a bit batty and ties back to my complaint on the no communication rule.  If your heart wants more, than why do you have to stick with the script?  Improvise, make up a new story.  But no, their youth and immaturity showed clearly during these time.

There is a big twist to the story, which in the back of my mind, wasn’t a total shock.  What it does, other than break your heart, is it impacts my early view of Ben.  The author takes away something special and I wasn’t sure how to feel about that.  In the end, she wraps things up with a nice bow, but I’m still left wondering about his intentions.  They didn’t feel as pure as I expected them to be.

While I had some issues with the characters actions, this book is thought provoking, leaving my mind reeling past the last page.  Like the author’s other books, it is beautifully written and a fresh twist on the insta-love theme.  November 9th transforms from a day of tragedy, to a day of love and hope.

– Grace
(I was lucky enough to find an early copy of the book at Barnes & Noble).

Amazon US – Amazon UK – Barnes and Noble


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