Published by Atria Books on November 10th, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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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.
Do you believe in the concept of soulmates? Whether you do or you don’t makes it crucial for your enjoyment of this book.
It starts off fairly innocently, as Fallon while having an unpleasant lunch with her dad, meets Ben. He becomes her fake boyfriend and they instantly hit it off, with an unusual and intense connection. For reasons I’m not entirely convinced on, they decide to meet on November 9 every year for five years, with no contact in between.
Now you’ll wonder as I wondered, why would they choose to do this for someone they’ve known for mere hours? No matter how convincingly their attraction was written, their deep connection and their past, I found it hard to believe. It’s surprising how year after year, they would be committed to meeting each other despite not knowing anything about each other except for their physical attraction.
“Because it’s easy to fall in love, Ben. The hard part comes when you want out.”
Upon first meeting Ben, I found him a little too good to be true, as he delivers cheesy line after line to Fallon. It’s like he’s almost manipulating the situation, as he feeds Fallon, who’s insecure about her scars as a burn victim, exactly what she needs to hear. While I liked his commitment to their pact, the depth of his feelings and his loyalty to his brothers, there was something about Ben that I didn’t quite trust – and it turns out I was right.
During his first meeting with Fallon, he forces her to wear a dress that she doesn’t want to wear. She’s a burn victim and wears long sleeves to cover her scars, but even after honestly explaining to Ben why she doesn’t want to wear a revealing dress – he makes her do it anyway. She’s not entirely unwilling, but I’m like dude, if the girl says no, that means no. He also insists on saying really awkwardly uncomfortable things in front of other people, concerning her panties and her boobs, which I found more disrespectful than awkwardly charming. And the fact that Fallon always comes to him, and he doesn’t come to her. I saw two sides to his character – the perfect emotional writer, which he acts like around Fallon, and the controlling and disrespectful alpha male persona which came through his actions.
Fallon on the other hand, is the damaged girl who needs to heal herself before getting into a relationship. She goes through major character development over the course of the novel, and in 5 years, changes from the self conscious bitter girl to one who is confident and ambitious. But because of the way the novel is written, only giving us a snapshot of each year, I missed a lot of Fallon’s development and what caused her to change and grow.
“One of the things I always try to remind myself is that everyone has scars,” she says. “A lot of them even worse than mine. The only difference is that mine are visible and most people’s aren’t.”
“I don’t tell her she’s right. I don’t tell her that as beautiful as she looks on the outside, I only wish I could look like on the inside.”
Which brings me back to the one trope I have with “damaged character” books – that romance changes everything. Here it’s relied upon heavily and that didn’t quite fly with me – because the reader is told to accept that these two characters have pulled themselves out of the depth of their personal hells because they’ve met each other. And they don’t even really know each other! Yet they’re blindly committed to this cute idea they made when they were 18. It just doesn’t make sense.
Colleen Hoover’s writing is addictive and filled with emotion, but another issue I had with November 9 is that it heavily features cheesy romance tropes. Damaged characters, a hidden past, and secrets being kept on both sides. The cheesiness, insta-love, and manufactured romantic drama also made it feel inauthentic. Everything seems to be resolved a little too easily, particularly since you can just skip a proper resolution by just going to the next year.
I enjoyed the concept of having a couple meet once per year in November 9, however much of how the novel was structured year by year was it’s downfall for me. I found Ben to be too unrealistic, Fallon’s development was skipped over, and it relied too heavily on romantic tropes and cheesy lines to deliver an impact. The big twist of the end is also featured in other NA books that I’ve read before, which was disappointing and predictable to say in the least. Sadly, I feel like the magic’s starting to wear off.
Rating: 2 out of 5
I wonder why this was released on November 10?
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me this book for review.