After Hello by Lisa Mangum
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication date: August 21, 2012
Format: eARC, 272 pages
How I got it: From the author
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
What if the first day of your relationship was the only day you had?
Seventeen-year-old Sara is a seeker. She’s always on the lookout for the perfect moment to capture with her ever-present, point-and-shoot camera, especially on her first trip to New York City.
Sam is a finder. He has a knack for finding what other people can’t—a first-edition book or the last two tickets to a sold-out Broadway show. In New York, there is always something interesting to find.
When Sam and Sara’s paths cross, neither one of them is prepared for what they will find out about each other—and about themselves when they form an unlikely partnership in search of a seemingly elusive work of art. They have one day to find the impossible. Fate brought their talents together, but what happens when time runs out? Will love be able to overcome fate? This new novel from award-winning author Lisa Mangum explores what happens after hello.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In Review: My Thoughts
“That’s New York for you. This city inspires its own kind of crazy.”
I was immediately drawn in by the cover of After Hello. I’m head-over-heels in love with New York City and I can’t help but smile when I see one of its landmarks on a book cover. As soon as I read the blurb for the book, I knew I had to read it. I’m a photographer, so the fact that the main female character and I shared that hobby (or, habit as I prefer to call it), made me think I would likely connect with this book. I wasn’t wrong. Seeing as it’s set in my favorite city on the planet, one I love to photograph, didn’t hurt either. 🙂
“At the risk of sounding like a motivational poster, life is an adventure.”
This book reminded me so much of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares. It had the same feeling as those two, and it was more than just that it was set in NYC. Each of these books brought together strangers for an adventure of one type or another. The plots were nothing alike, but the feelings it gave me were. The writing styles were similar, so I can say for sure, if you enjoyed Nick & Norah and/or Dash & Lily, you should absolutely pick this book up.
“My dad taught me to never talk to strangers,” she said lightly.
“We’re all strangers in the beginning.”
“Then what are we in the end?”
“We’ll have to see when we get there.”
After Hello is the story of Sara and Sam. Sara is visiting NYC for the first time. She’s there with her father, who is there for business. They have a laundry list of things to do in the city, but he gets held up in meetings and she starts exploring the city on her own. Just a girl and her camera. (Something I’ve done several times myself. It’s amazing.) Sam catches Sara’s eye and she snaps his photo. He strikes up a conversation by playfully accusing her of stealing his soul. She’s spunky and tells him she’s not sorry, something he respects, and they begin to chat more. He invites her to tag along with him while he does his job, thus beginning their one-day adventure. And boy, it’s an adventure.
“But a quest can be for anything – knowledge, love, a ham sandwich – not just a dragon’s lair or a magical ring.”
Sam finds things. Be it a book, artwork, treasure maps, event tickets, a person… it’s what he does. He’s good at it. He trades to get what he wants and needs. It’s really very creative to read how he gets what he’s looking for by making some very interesting trades. It’s like life is a big puzzle he’s just waiting to solve. I absolutely loved Sam.
“Because you can never go back. You can only go forward.”
What Sara wants more than anything is to find her mom. Her mom left them when she was younger. She doesn’t know why. Her relationship with her dad is strained because he’s not there much. He works all the time and he’s disappointed her on this trip. She begins to think that maybe, just maybe, Sam can help her find her mom. I mean, he finds things after all. It’s a tall order, but she’s hopeful. At the risk of spoiling any of the adventure for you, I’m not going to say any more about the plot of the book. It was fun and fast-paced. There was a bit of a “coming of age” story feel to it for Sara – and for Sam, to some extent. I loved spending the day in New York with them. I devoured this book.
“Why did New York feel more like home to me than home did? I’d heard of love at first sight, but I didn’t know it could happen with a whole city.”
New York is such a fantastic setting for a book. Any book. The city becomes a character itself. There’s an amazing energy in New York at all hours of the day. I felt like that energy leapt off the pages of this book. I felt like I was there, in the midst of Sara and Sam’s adventure. (Side note: this quote is one of my favorite book quotes, ever. It perfectly sums up my feelings about that beautiful city.) I’m still in awe of how real the author made the city. It was perfect. It made me nostalgic. I’m overdue for an adventure of my own in New York.
“I’m still not sorry I stole your soul,” she said. “But I’m glad I was able to give it back.”
This book left me with such a happy feeling. That, and the desperate need for a sequel. The entire concept was unique to me. The story wasn’t completely predictable in that way romances can be. The romance was sweet and innocent, real. Sara and Sam shared the type of connection that is entirely possible after a single day. The characters were fantastic. Sara and Sam were both totally lovable and complex, but real. The side characters were interesting and well-written. I definitely connected with the characters in this book. I need to know more about them! The descriptions of New York were spot-on. The dialogue between the characters was fun and playful, completely realistic. If you’re looking for a light, clean book with a hint of romance and adventure, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.