Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 416 pages
Audiobook Length: 11 hours and 15 minutes
First Published: 2023
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House Publishing through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
After a childhood of being ignored by his family, William Waters finds refuge playing basketball in college. When William meets Julia Padavano, a lively girl extremely close to her parents and three sisters, he quickly becomes a part of the close-knit Padavano family. Although cracks start to appear in the family, William never imagined he’d be the wedge to drive them apart.
I think I might call it already. I think I’ve already found the best book of 2023. I liked Dear Edward, but Hello Beautiful is on a completely different level; it’s just that good. Ann Napolitano’s March release is the ultimate book club book. She hits on so many different themes, but in completely relatable and realistic ways. The depth of the characters in Hello Beautiful was astounding; you feel the characters come to life. A homage to Little Women, Hello Beautiful gorgeously describes family and sisterhood, mental health, and forgiveness, in such a way that you will never forget this story.
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 he’s relieved 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.
About Ann Napolitano
Ann Napolitano is the author of three novels: A Good Hard Look, Hello Beautiful, Within Arm’s Reach and Dear Edward. She is also the Associate Editor of the literary magazine One Story. She currently lives in Brooklyn. Visit the author’s website →