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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

From Carnegie Medal finalist Jenny Valentine comes a bold new story about the boundlessness of love and second chances, perfect for fans of David Levithan's Every Day. Jude doesn't believe in love, or magic. Life is little more than ordinary. That is, until Jude's mother loses her job and moves them to a little town by the sea to live with Henry Lake--an eccentric old man with rooms to rent. Henry is odd, the town is dull, and worst of all, Jude feels out of place and alone. So when Novo turns up in the house across the street, dressed all in black and looking unbearably handsome, Jude's summer takes an immediate turn for the better. But Novo isn't all that he seems to be--or maybe he's more than Jude can possibly understand. Novo is pure magic--someone who can bend and stretch the bounds of time. Someone who wakes up in different places and at different points in history with utter regularity. He knows that each Now is fleeting, that each moment is only worth the energy it expen…

Hello Now

by Jenny Valentine

Overall Book Review:

This book started out really slowly, and maybe I am impatient, but it seemed like it took until almost halfway through for me to really get some kind of an idea of what Hello Now was about. Even after finishing this book and having a little time to go over it again in my head, I’m still not sure how I feel about this story.

Hello Now starts out with a lonely, frustrated teen boy named Jude, who is getting ready to move for the thirteenth time. This time, he and his mom are moving back to the same town she grew up in and swore she would never return to. Their current living arrangement isn’t ideal; they are renting rooms from a reclusive old man named Henry Lake who talks about life as if he has been living forever. Jude is happily surprised when a boy named Novo shows up, pulls onto the street in a cool car and dark clothes.

It’s obvious that Jude is interested in Novo, though their relationship is never named or even acknowledged really. Instead, the boys start hanging out and Novo starts talking about the universe and love and time, and that’s when the story got hard to follow and had a weird time-travel science fiction twist that was difficult to comprehend. The words were beautifully written, yet the fantasy and magic seemed too out there for this story for some reason. Perhaps knowing ahead of time that this book has some supernatural content would have made it less of a surprise and more of an adventure? Maybe I just need a more open mind.

The rest of the book was really vague and talked a lot about different timelines and how Novo had the ability to time travel (I think). It was confusing, and I guess that brings me to my rating. I think I was expecting a very simple teen romance in this book, and it turned out to be a lot more than I bargained for! I’ll admit, I kind of struggled to get through the rest of this book, I did find that once I finished, it was helpful to go back and re-read the first few chapters of the book to pull the story together.

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Philomel

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  3 religious exclamations; 2 mild obscenities; 7 scatological words; 1 anatomical term. 

Violence/Gore:  Protagonist has a conversation about a violent person, refers to them as “unhinged; several scary scenes are depicted involving starved dogs lunging at a person and biting; dying fish described to be seen on a floor. 

Sex/Nudity:  Boys kiss several times; two teen boys sleep outside on roof together under the stars; teen boys go swimming in the sea and take off their wetsuits, sex is implied but never directly mentioned, boys mentioned to fall asleep in cave afterward; teen boys are mentioned to hug and hold each other while they fall asleep; teen boys kiss, touch each other’s stomach, thighs and sides.

Mature Subject Matter:

Minor is mentioned to have shoplifted an item; a teen boy is assumed missing; sexuality is explored; homosexuality.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Street drugs listed by name; adults drink champagne.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.