Tuesday, 10 November 2015

November 9 by Colleen Hoover - ARC Review

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.
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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: November 2015.

Where do I even start with November 9? I am a huge Colleen Hoover fan...HUGE... FSOG may have been the book that got me reading again but Slammed was the one that kept me reading, I've read thousands of books since then but one I always come back to is Slammed so to say with each new release my expectations are high would be an understatement. My paperback is a mess of coloured tabs and highlighted quotes, ones that immediately stood out as something I needed to remember and revisit.

November 9 is set on the premise that Fallon a once upon a time child actor, and Ben an aspiring writer, meet as eighteen year olds on the day of Fallon's cross country move, they meet and the world seems to tilt on it's axis, they connect on a level neither has seemed to have ever experience before but Fallon is about to embark on a new adventure, one that will hopefully see her life change, they set each other tasks for the coming year with a plan to meet back up in one year's time. They block each other on social media, they don't swap numbers, they are only armed with a plan to see each other again on November 9 the following year, where they can compare notes on the year that has passed and hopefully everything they have accomplished in the time that has passed.

It's an exciting premise, one born out of a greater need to find out who they truly are, to find their place in the world, and figure out who they want to be. Fallon citing her mother's advice as her reason for leaving this connection behind, the theory that you change exponentially from eighteen to twenty three, Fallon wants to find herself again before falling in love, before being lost in someone else, leaving her with five years to find who she is and what she wants to be.

"You'll never be able find yourself if you're lost in someone else."

November 9 isn't just a date that these two will continue to reconnect over the course of the coming five years, nor is it just the title of this book, November 9 holds special relevance as the day Fallon's life changed dramatically as and as result it's a date that holds a darker meaning for her, but with this new and exciting connection with Ben pushing her to test her boundaries, he's succeeding in replacing her sad memories with something to look forward to.

There's so much beauty here in this story, in true Hoover fashion I was instantly swept up in her words, making me forget everything going on in the world around me and truly lose myself in the world she created.

"I missed you, Fallon...A lot. And screw it if I'm not supposed to admit that, but I tried the whole alpha male thing for two seconds, and I just can't do it. So you don't get alpha Ben today. I'm sorry."

With lines like these it's hard not to be swept up in their albeit unconventional romance,  a friendship born out of the unlikeliest of meetings, one that transcends time, one day a year to spend together, a handful of hours to say everything they've both been thinking and feeling never quite feels like enough and yet every moment they share seems better than the last, and as I sped through the pages I didn't once question their connection, because I could feel every emotion seep though the pages, I could feel it hammering through my blood, telling me that what they'd found in that restaurant on the first day was real.

But as with time, life moves forward and as much as every year they meet up and their bond strengthens, them having to say good bye again becomes more and more difficult. I felt myself dreading their goodbyes as much as they did, and I kept repeating over and over in my mind that they should just void their plan, they should stay together, they should be with one another, and they could write whatever story they wanted together.

"I thought I was tougher than a word. But I just discovered that having to say good bye to you is one of the hardest things to do."

Nothing about November 9 ever felt forced, there was never a time that I felt like the author threw in angst for the sake of it to fill the story, there were moments that I was wearing my biggest swooniest grin, other's when my heart seemed so full I almost expected it to burst out of my chest, and there were moments of pure and unadulterated heartbreak, because as Fallon so eloquently described not all romances mean that the hero and heroine have to end up together, as long as they are happy whether it be together or separate that's all that matters.

"Your hands touch someone who isn't me. Your lips make promises against skin that isn't mine."

Lines like that is why I read, it's why I get so lost in a Colleen Hoover book, it's lines like that that have goose bumps prickling my skin, setting fire to my heart, causing me to stop and just breathe in her words, it's those moments that I crave when I read, to be totally lost in a book and it's characters.

I was head over heels with Fallon and Ben, with their journey, with their torment of being apart despite it being of their own doing, of them both battling their own pasts to find a way to be whole on their own and then together, and there were so many moments that truly stole my breath, and left me wanting more, but the last thirty per cent felt rushed, I wanted more, I wanted more from Ben, I wanted to recreate that swoon worthy feeling he gave me in the beginning, I wanted to feel his desperation more keenly. I didn't want to put this book down at any point, sitting at a family party on Sunday afternoon, when my husband noticed my forlorn appearance, he urged me to pick up my book so I could keep reading, I dove back in immediately needing to know more, I know this book will hit all the right notes for so many readers, I loved the pacing, I loved the way we didn't get bogged down in everyday life for Fallon and Ben instead focusing on their time together each year, but in the end the final quarter didn't finish as strongly as I had hoped. Without a doubt Colleen Hoover continues to excel as so much of this showed her growth as an author, as always I'm excited to see what's next for her.


About Colleen Hoover:

#1 New York Times bestselling author of books that make you feel good. And bad. But mostly good.

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