Completed: January 19, 2014
Publishing Info: September 4th 2012 by Shadow Mountain
Source: Hardcover sent to me as part of Sisterhood of the Traveling Books
Genre: Contemporary (YA)
POV: Alternating First Person (Sarah/Sam)
Find It Online: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N
I have to admit, I had fairly high hopes for AFTER HELLO. The premise sounded super cute and it was a lesser-known title which always kind of excites me so I was really interested when Rachel picked it as our group-read for an idea she came up with dubbed The Sisterhood of the Traveling Books. I was also heading to New York right after I received the book so it was sort of like a being-in-the-same-place excitement kind of thing too! (Even though I was going to central NY and the characters were in NYC.)
I was interested in the story when I started the first chapter — Sarah is out and about in NYC while her dad (both of them there for her dad’s business trip) is stuck in meetings all day. She first sees Sam through the lens of her camera and the two start talking and end up spending the day in the city together. I loved that this was a nice little meet-cute moment, putting Sarah out of her comfort zone with Sam catching her snapping a picture of him. Unfortunately after that, I didn’t love much else.
I didn’t hate the book. I just simply lost interest within the first few chapters. I think I could have easily fallen in love with this little love story but the book took a weird plot turn for me when we find out exactly where Sam is supposed to deliver his “mystery book” that Sarah saw him buying when she captured him in her photo lens. Unfortunately for me, the situations throughout the rest of the book revolve around this one delivery and every other character we meet and how their fate intertwines with Sarah and Sam do as well. It felt cheesy, unrealistic, and a little silly to me. I had this vision that AFTER HELLO would be a cute story about Sam showing Sarah around the city for the first time and it was… But he leads her to some obscure places and some oddball people. Nothing wrong with that but it was just not the story I was hoping for.
I wasn’t entirely invested in each character either. Both of them had some serious baggage which hindered my ability to focus on the budding relationship here. I guess in one way, I understand that they sort of felt comfortable sharing their deep, dark secrets with each other since they don’t expect to see each other after this one day but the amount of secrets shared and the instant dependency on each other felt awkward and rushed to me. I wouldn’t say insta-love because I didn’t feel like they were supposed to be in love but there was just a whole lot of baggage for each character and I think the book could have easily done without it and focused more on the personality of the characters and not what the horrors of their pasts sort of “turned them into”.
It was a really quick read and I appreciated the length but with so much potential, it ended up disappointing. It just wasn’t the book for me… The ending felt silly, the characters fell flat, and the whole plot just didn’t quite do it for me. Maybe I expected too much going in but I also don’t feel like I should have been that disappointed from my expectations alone.
Sarah || Character Obsessions: Photography, finding the perfect art, not ruining Sam’s brother’s life.
Sarah was… not my cup of tea. There were times her character fell flat for me and there were other times when she was melodramatic. She had her own personal baggage with her mom and it felt like that totally defined her. I just felt like her character could have been developed so much more.
Sam || Character Obsessions: Finding things, delivering packages, getting along with everyone.
Sam was a bit better but only marginally. He had his own horrors in his past that popped up and I felt like they really defined him too. His character became too much about his past and I get it but… I just wanted to see a stronger character.
Kept Me Hooked On: New York. Sometimes I feel like there are just SO many books that take place in NYC (because it’s such a popular place and home to so many) but I really enjoyed the setting on this on. I could kind of picture myself there.
Left Me Wanting More: Character development. I just didn’t get along with these characters and they really both fell flat for me. I know I wasn’t a fan of the plot but maybe it could have worked if the characters had really grabbed me.
Get a second opinion
I didn’t enjoy this one but I know others did. I’d say weigh out your options and run it by your trusted reviewers!