Published by Atria Books on November 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
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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 before 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.
Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?
When people ask me for recommended new adult books, I never fail to mention Colleen Hoover. Funny though, I haven’t written a full review of any of her novels—not Hopeless, not Confess, not Maybe Someday. I mention those because they’re my top 3 picks in order…or at least they were prior to my reading November 9. Now that I’m attempting to write a review, I realize just why I never seem to finish one. It’s difficult to put into words what I think about Colleen’s novels because they so often fill me with feelings. If I had to describe her books in three words, I could just say “so many feels”. Then again, that wouldn’t come close to giving justice to her writing, because in addition to the emotion, there’s always that surprise, that plot twist that I’ve come to expect from her.
I remember how, during her bloggers’ forum in Manila, Colleen said something about November 9 having probably the biggest plot twist since Hopeless. With Hopeless being my ultimate fave CoHo novel, that gave me high expectations. November didn’t deliver that same jaw-dropping OMG moment of revelation that Hopeless did, but the overall impact was just as good. And the cool thing is, with the hero Ben being an aspiring novelist writing about his and Fallon’s story, it has an Inception-esque feel going. As Fallon starts to wonder what’s reality and what’s fiction, so do I, as the reader, question the truth behind Ben.
Even more amazing is that this mystery exists despite the story being written in dual POV. With Hopeless, it was easier for Colleen to create suspense because we only had Sky’s side of the story the entire time. In November, I didn’t realize just how filtered Ben’s side was until that moment when Fallon’s knowledge of Ben is challenged. That careful storytelling proves to me that Colleen doesn’t just write romance. She writes suspense too. Maybe not the spine-tingling kind, but suspense all the same, and that addition makes for a unique novel that’s truly refreshing.
Aside from that element of surprise, it was the plot that captivated me. It reminded me of Anne Hathaway’s movie One Day (which I haven’t seen but know the premise of). Unlike the film, which spans more than a decade of one-day meetings, November spans only seven years—seven November 9s. However, unlike how One Day‘s Dexter and Emma are originally friends who keep in touch despite the distance, November‘s Ben and Fallon begin as strangers, and they have absolutely no contact with each other in the days outside November 9th. I found it a really interesting and creative play on time, how it fast-forwards two people’s lives to one day wherein everything slows down and rewinds.
It’s crazy how one day and one chance encounter could have such a tremendous impact, and the romantic in me revels in that concept. I loved how Ben and Fallon’s story unfolds, how it isn’t perfect and neat and happy. It was heartbreaking at times, maddening at others, but always, I could feel Ben and Fallon’s emotions like they were my own. (Having read this book on February 14 of all days, I had no shortage of emotions.) I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but Colleen just has a way of stringing simple words together to create such profound sentiments. I think it’s only right that I end this long, rambling review with my favorite quotes from November 9—which now ties with Hopeless as my favorite CoHo books so far:
“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”
…comfort can sometimes be a crutch when it comes to figuring out your life. Goals are achieved through discomfort and hard work. They aren’t achieved when you hide out in a place where you’re nice and cozy.
“I thought I was tougher than a word,” he says, “But I just discovered that having to say goodbye to you is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
She “loved me” in quotations
She kissed me in bold
I TRIED TO KEEP HER in all caps
She left with an ellipsis…
“When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it.”
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