Standalone: A story of second chances, redemption, love and loss.
Reviewed by Gitte and Jenny
‘Just once it would be nice if someone looked me in the eyes and held my stare. It’s been so long since that happened. I hate to admit that I miss the attention I used to get, but I do.’
No matter what is said there is no question that Colleen Hoover has that incredibly special gift of originality and a way with words that are second to none. When Colleen is in the zone she really and truly is so in the zone that she leaves it for dust. Many years ago we placed this special Author on a pedestal so high having been left spellbound and in such awe of her talent, her characters, her storylines and her unquestionable talent for making us cry and our hearts melt into puddles on the floor. It’s incredibly hard to achieve simplistic beauty without fanfare but that is what Colleen is capable of. No question.
‘It’s as if the world chooses this moment to go silent.’
We understand and encourage Author’s evolvement and their natural progression to hone their craft. A craft which can undoubtedly be influenced by outside factors – life and those we surround ourselves with. This can both be a good thing or not. The essence of Colleen’s brilliance is still very much there, however, all of the above can impact this essence so that it becomes swallowed up having to momentarily fight to be seen.
“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”
Starting November 9 we fell in love with absolutely everything. The characters – the unique storyline. We were in awe once more of spellbinding, flawless writing and the trademark simplistic beauty. It was truly hopeful, inspirational and how we love to remember feeling when we picked up our first Colleen Hoover book three years ago. We believed – we were encouraged and we felt everything in our hearts. Highlighting quotes every other page to be re-read later because of their stunning nature. Book heaven is such a fabulous place to be and we were there. Until we weren’t.
‘I just sometimes find it difficult to control my indignation in the presence of absurdity.’
The beauty and hope was wrenched away in the last part of the book by changing the storyline from that inspirational, the unique and that consequential romantic moment of – seeing beauty past appearance. It was cheapened, it was unnecessary and it broke our hearts. Everything we had LOVED and all the romance of it felt false all of a sudden. As far as twists go it was a good one in any other circumstance – however – in this one it negated everything that had gone before. For us, this was the wrong path to take as in itself it was not necessary in this story and it actually made us doubt every single beautiful word that came before it. It contradicted and reduced what was a simple, genuine and emotionally laden story. It sacrificed Ben for drama – unnecessary drama. The concept of November 9 – in itself – was brilliant and captivating without it.
“I can still feel the wounds your tears left in my chest every time I breathe.”
Now, we actually don’t know how to feel. November 9 was a book within a book – we felt like – as reviewers – we became the punchline to a joke – a veiled reference threaded through the pages. It became satirical. Saying that though, no question up until the last 20 or so percent this was a five star read for us and we wish we could unread the end and treasure the moments of pure CoHo brilliance and the copious quotable lines that had our hearts pounding.
“No combination of the written words could ever do this moment justice.”
The drama which we can’t speak of because of spoilers negated everything that went before. We read with dread as the beautiful perfection of a simple romance and hearts on sleeves became something else which made us doubt the sincerity of the words. All books don’t need drama. Did Ben really see beneath the scars? We just don’t know or believe this any longer. And this questionable drama took us from believing with all our hearts that love goes beyond perfection, love can exist through fleeting moments of time which was the original pure beauty of this book.
‘A body is simply a package for the true gifts inside.’
**Reviewed from an ARC copy kindly provided by Atria Books with thanks**
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