Thursday, February 14, 2013
Book Review: After Hello by Lisa Mangum (Whitney Finalist)
Author: Lisa Mangum
Enjoyment Rating: ***
This book would be rated: G
When I was in grad school, I read Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist as part of a class assignment looking at point of view. I loved the book-- it was hilarious and touching and edgy, and Nick and Norah (who told the story of the night they met in New York city in alternating chapters) were vibrant and distinctive characters. But it definitely fell into the category of YA novels I wouldn't hand over to my twelve-year-old (you know, full of bad language and underage drinking and sexual innuendo).
What Lisa Mangum does in her novel After Hello feels a lot like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. The idea is the same-- Sam and Sara (see, alliteration in both sets of names?) spot each other on a NYC street one day just before lunch. She likes his hoodie, so she follows him, and they spend the next twenty-four hours having adventures and talking about the deepest, darkest parts of themselves. Like N&N, After Hello also uses alternating POV in each chapter, although the voices are less distinctive (and the whole book is third-person, rather than first). This is definitely the kind of book I'd hand over to my twelve-year-old, but even though it's well-written and sweet, it lacks the spark that makes Nick and Norah something great.