Hello Now by Jenny Valentine

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Hello Now by Jenny Valentine

Buy Hello Now by Jenny Valentine at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Olivia Mitchell
Reviewed by Olivia Mitchell
Summary: A unique and engaging story that toys with the boundaries of our reality, transcending logic, time and space to create a book about the compulsion of young love, the intensity of reality, the magnetism of the otherworldly, and the beauty of their collision.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: April 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007466498

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Jude reluctantly moves to a small, quiet seaside town after her Mum and her most recent boyfriend split (making this their 13th post-breakup move) and settle into a big, old house overlooking the sea - which happens to contain a strange, old sitting tenant named Henry, who stays rooted in the house like a ghost that just won't leave – or can't. As Jude settles into this new, seemingly mundane, reality she is consumed by a longing for her old life in London and anger at another forced change – but this will be the last time, she swears. This world is quiet, dull and yet suffocating for Jude. That is until the day Novo arrives, and her entire concept of the world changes forever.

Jude is your classic teenager – reluctant, intelligent and occasionally sarcastic, but with a loving heart - a likeable, easily relatable character. At first she is sad and frustrated at her mother for forcing change upon her again, and for bringing her to such an end-of-the-road place. But as she experiences life with Novo in just a few hours (or days or weeks - we can never truly be sure) her outlook changes. She sees her troubles from her 'normal' life as the catalyst to her mesmerising new reality with Novo, feeling things she thought she never believed in and allowing herself to fall into a world beyond logic without hesitation.

Novo and his 'otherness' are a magnetic mystery. As readers we are always kept in the dark about his true origins or nature, but yet this does not impact on how connected to him we feel. There are always questions surrounding him and yet these fall by the wayside. I found myself just as drawn to him as Jude is.

Henry Lake, the tenant in the house, has depths beyond the strange, greying and off-putting exterior he may present, which Jude and Novo rely on in their own way. He creates a bridge between the worlds for Jude when she needs it most.

I was completely pulled into this book, and finished it in one sitting. The story is told mostly from Jude's perspective as she retrospectively writes down her 'bewildering' love story – something she never thought she'd do. The story is bookended by brief, cryptic insights into Novo's experience, which come into clarity for the reader as the book draws to a close. The author weaves the elements of Novo's unconventional magic seamlessly into our reality, skilfully bending and transcending the boundaries of time, space and logic in a way which makes you question whether things written truly happened whilst making them seem a perfectly natural and credible - a credit to the quality of writing. There is deft use of powerful imagery to create a vivid world with dimension and engaging imagery. The language is easy to digest yet incredibly descriptive and immersive. This book erases and reforms boundaries with ease, redefining the impossible and allowing otherworldly elements to flow into our reality and back out again to create beautiful images and moments – but everything that starts has to end.

The sudden new reality and magic brought by Novo, and even Novo himself, are kept in mystery, never fully explained. As someone who likes to logically understand every aspect of the world they can, this was something I struggled with and could initially make the story challenging to follow – however this ceased to be an issue further into the story. As I got immersed in this book, I found myself no longer trying to dissect and understand everything - that is not what this book is about - and allowed myself to suspend my disbelief and become enjoyably swept up in this unique story.

A story about all-consuming love, beautiful things impossible yet true, the magic of the world around us and the pain of what it means to truly love someone.

Further Reading:
The House by Sebastiana Randone – A paranormal romance, with a more historical leaning and intense atmosphere.
Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine – Another tale of complicated young love, compelling love interests and dangerous mystery from the same author.

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Buy Hello Now by Jenny Valentine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hello Now by Jenny Valentine at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Hello Now by Jenny Valentine at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hello Now by Jenny Valentine at Amazon.com.

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