Blog Tour/Reviews/Giveaway: November 9: Colleen Hoover

by - Thursday, November 12, 2015

November 9
Colleen Hoover
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Expected November 10, 2015

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 of 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.

Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?

An interesting meeting changes Fallon O'Neill and Ben Kessler's lives in just one day. It was totally one of those apparent right person, bad timing things. They're eighteen years old, a bit quirky, and have their own issues. But despite the odd circumstances, they connect. But Fallon is not interested in getting distracted from her goals or being in a relationship, and she is moving away. So they give each other "homework" and agree to meet November 9 for the next five years to catch up and reconnect with no contact in between. And this shall also become inspiration for Ben's writing.

Years. Tears. Fears. Feelings. Choices. One day a year and then it is over. Each year brings more of a connection, changes, questions, problems, and more difficulty saying good bye. But they have both a positive and negative impact on each other's lives at various times. We see growth and change. There are secrets. And there is a twist...Holy Freakin' Hell...The Twist.

That sent the story spiraling and my mind reeling and my heart stalling. This book had me so full of tension at times, it punched me in the gut, broke my heart, glued it back together, then did it again. Fallon and Ben had so much happening in their young lives, but I loved them together. The fact I could feel their connection with the limited time they were actually together showed its intensity. The angst nearly killed me.

I adored Ben. He was so funny, sweet, flirty, and protective. He had me laughing so much. But it was obvious he was hiding something. It drove me crazy trying to figure it out. And Fallon had her own deadpan sense of humor, issues, and flaws. She had become quite an introvert until Ben challenged her. I loved their rapport and how they related to each other.

It was told in dual points of view and some of it in Ben's written form. I liked the side characters, his brother Ryan and his girl Jordyn, and her friends Amber and Glenn. And getting to spend more time with Ben's older brother Ian and his friends Miles and Tate from Ugly Love.

This was definitely a unique story with an interesting plot and some surprises and twists. It pulled out all kind of emotions--laughter, frustration, anger, anticipation, joy, and sadness. I loved the book references and book boyfriend tidbits. This was sweet, swoony, romantic, heartbreaking, and emotional. Another captivating, complex story woven by Colleen that kept me engaged and surprised me at times. My only complaint (besides the angst nearly killing me) was that I would have loved to see an epilogue. The ending felt a bit rushed to me after all they had been through, it maybe I am just being greedy and needy.

ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When Fallon O’Neill meets Benton Kessler, she is on the brink of big changes in her life. The day before she makes a cross country move, Ben comes to her rescue pretending to be her boyfriend. One day spent together sparks a plan: every year on November 9, Ben and Fallon will meet in the same place, at the same time, and spend one day catching up. They won’t speak between meetings. They won’t stalk social media. One day a year. For five years.

Fallon was an interesting character in that she had spent several years under the Hollywood spotlight, but now all she wants to do is hide from that spotlight. She works to hide in plain sight, behind long sleeves, long hair, and downcast eyes. But Ben sees behind her curtain to the girl she hides. I loved watching her metamorphosis throughout the book, and even in the first year her changes were considerable. Whether they were simply her own changes or changes because of Ben didn’t matter to me -- she was making changes to find who she wanted to be.

I loved Ben from the beginning. He seems to know exactly what Fallon needs to hear, and sees her in such a beautiful way. I didn’t always understand his decisions, but I loved the support he gave to her in their initial day together and the subsequent visits. But I also had several moments where he broke my heart right alongside Fallon’s.

As a reader, I was intrigued by the idea of only seeing one day a year between two characters. How could two people fall in love in only five days max? How would they maintain their connection for the other 364 days in between meetings? There were so many questions in my head about the format that I couldn’t help but be pulled in from the beginning. The anticipation that builds waiting to find out what happened to each character in the meantime was epic.

But what caught me off guard was the impact each has on the other during their short time together. I was amazed that the author could convey such strong emotion, realistically, using only a few days, because like Fallon, insta-love makes me roll my eyes. This progression was natural, and felt richer and deeper than 5 days of conversation. And as those years began to pass and reality checked the romantic idea of one day a year, I both soared and crashed with the characters through each challenge they faced. What should have been a simple meeting from year to year turned into massive highs and lows for the characters in turn.

I loved the tie in with Ugly Love. Though it is loose, I smiled when I saw Miles’ name pop up carelessly in dialogue. And then he and Tate arrive to support Ian. *sigh* This is not a “series,” but Ian and Miles’s friendship and shared career make sense for the characters to pop into each other’s lives.

Most of the book is told in sections relating to each November 9th meeting. Alternating perspectives from both Fallon and Ben give readers a view of what each is experiencing, though the majority of the scenes are through Fallon’s eyes. But Ben’s voice comes out late in the book as his manuscript nears completion. Because really, isn’t that why they are meeting? So he can use their meetings as the basis for a novel?

But I was shocked and taken completely by surprise by the twist that comes out in his manuscript. I was crushed. All those little clues that I hadn’t seen in the moment suddenly made sense in hindsight. In my surprise I initially felt blindsided by the twist, but in the end it didn’t matter to me, especially as she continues to read past those four pages. 

This book had everything I have come to expect from a CoHo book -- huge emotional ups and downs, a surprise twist, and characters that change and develop as they mature. I can’t help but imagine the November 9th after the “last” 9th and I love what my imagination has come up with. 
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I’m definitely in the minority here. Sadly, November 9 wasn’t my favorite by this author. Which totally sucks because I usually love me some CoHo, but this time around my love was fleeting. I totally wanted to be a part of the in crowd for this one, especially since this book sat on my highly anticipated list and the reviews coming in for it were amazing. 

The premises was promising but somewhere along the way that promise fell to the way side, and I know exactly where and when that happened. Without posting any spoilers, November 9 held a big no-no, a pet peeve if you may, which is where the book took a huge plummet. Up until that point, I was pretty engaged. Even with all the angst and years in between. 

Ben and Fallon: My favorite part about this book was Ben. His character was fun and a bit unpredictable, which made him wicked intriguing. I wanted to know everything about him, so much so, I devoured his chapters. Fallon’s not so much. She didn’t have the same depth and richness to her character that Ben had. Her personality wasn’t as captivating. She was mainly about her scars and hiding herself from others. It took a lot for her character to overcome the battle between her past and her future. Most of this came about due to Ben’s instance and perseverance. And although, Fallon did grow throughout her chapters, I felt as though she grew the most through Ben’s eyes. His descriptions of her gave us more vivid visuals than her own did. We don’t actually get to see her grow, such as going on dates or auditioning. Instead we are told about Fallon’s growth each year when she meets up with Ben. I get not knowing the specific details of their lives over the year was meant to make it more powerful when they met back up but a few glimpses would have made a huge difference. 

Ben’s manuscript: We don’t see this until the end of the book when Fallon is reading it. Up until that point, we just know he is writing their love story. Cliché’s and all. I felt this was the best part of the entire book. Here you get a darker taste of Ben and you really get a sense of who he is through his writing. His writing is full of feels and emotional grit. It add to the allure of Benton Kessler. 

The twist: I have to admit, I didn’t see that coming. Kudos to the author for keeping that little tidbit hidden until the last minute. I figured there were some deep dark secret, but that never crossed my mind. Again, sorry for the vagueness, but I don’t want to post any spoilers. 

Ending: I wanted more of an epilogue. Without it, the ending felt kind of rushed. I really wanted to see this couple a year later on November 9th. I guess the closure we got could constitute as a satisfying one, but then CoHo leaves us with these words—Not the end. Far from it. What does that even mean? Is there more angst in store for this couple? 

Overall: There were easily some 5+ star parts, then some 2 star parts, and some 3+ stars. My thoughts were all over the place with Ben and Fallon’s journey. Either way I look at things, it definitely had me walking away with some major feels.

Thank you, Atria Books, for the complimentary copy of November 9. 
Colleen Hoover
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Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, This Girl, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, and Confess. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.
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