Cover Image: Hello Beautiful (Oprah's Book Club)

Hello Beautiful (Oprah's Book Club)

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Member Reviews

This character-driven family drama was, well, beautiful. It's the story of the four Padavano sisters and William, a man who becomes part of their family for better or worse. An homage to Little Women, it's heartbreaking but also hopeful and Napolitano's gorgeous writing brought me to tears more than once, 

4.5 stars

Thanks to Dial Press and NetGalley for the copy to review.
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Fans of Ann Patchett's The Dutch House, or Stacey Swann's Olympus, Texas will love this thoughtful and well-developed novel about the Padavano family. Set mostly in Chicago, this is the story of four sisters and the people who come in and out of their orbit. The parallels to Little Women are clear, but it does not read as a retelling- it’s fully its own. The Padavano family serves as a microcosm reflecting our broken world - the way we hurt each other and save each other, and the way our human stories are intertwined. Really hope my sister reads this. It's one of those books that I continue to think about after the last page, and want to discuss. Highly recommend this one to my network! Thank you @netgalley and @thedialpress for the copy of this wonderful book.
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Hello Beautiful, by Ann Napolitano, was almost my first DNF, of the last two years. It tells the story of three generations of a Chicago family, focusing on the four sisters of the middle generation.  The first half was agonizingly slow. The characters were more annoying than likable, and I was enduring a challenging period of my life.  I plodded on...At around 60% everything came together and although many of the characters were no more likable, their maturity brought nuance and insight to their relationships.  The connecting themes of love, friendship, and resilience rose to the surface in a way that left me hopeful.  I was once again grateful I had persevered and finished the novel.  I did notice that the story is told from inside each character’s mental perspective.  There is far more telling than showing.  I am not sure there was an alternative method, but it does slow the story down.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read a digital ARC.
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This was the best book I have read this year! I was emotionally invested in all the characters in a way I have not felt in a long time while reading a book. I can't remember the last time I was so moved by a book., I would recommend this to everyone I know.
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This is such a “meaty” book. It contains the stories of four sisters, who from childhood were like four parts of a whole. Their father Charlie was loving - greeting each girl with “Hello, Beautiful.” Charlie leaves us early in the book, on the very day that one of the seventeen year old twins delivers baby Izzy. Their mother Rose promptly and emphatically kicks her and Izzy out of the house and her twin follows her. Julia, the eldest, had already married her college sweetheart William and got pregnant specifically to share motherhood with her sister. Oh my, there are so many more layers and layers of stories in this book. It will stay with me. Thank you, Net Galley for providing me with this ARC.
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This was a quiet but deep book, a little slow to ease into but then I just wanted keep reading. Gorgeous, raw characters that reveal the complexities of being human.
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Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano is hands-down the most beautiful book I’ve read so far this year. I loved this story so much that it’s taken me two months to sit down and write this review. My feelings were simply too intense to put down into words. (Cheesy, maybe, but true.)

As an Oprah Book Club pick, this title is far from lacking in attention. So I’ll skip the summary and jump to what I loved most.

Following the lives of four sisters, Hello Beautiful tells a story of love, grief, betrayal, and forgiveness. But most of all, it’s a story about being seen and accepted. Loved for all that you are, not for who you could be.

Napolitano’s strength is in character development. Each and every individual - from the sisters and their parents to William and his basketball family - is fully realized. And the relationships that exist between each of the characters is as unique as the characters themselves. Throughout the story, the author creates these intricate webs of personal bonds that expand and contract. As the characters grow, their relationships with each other shift accordingly.

Anyone familiar with my reviews knows that I am stingy with my 5-star ratings. But Hello Beautiful checks all the boxes - relatable themes, strong characters, beautiful prose, emotional connection, compelling storytelling. I can guarantee this one will land in my top 3 for 2023.

Thank you to Random House, Dial Press, and NetGalley for this ARC.
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Hello Beautiful
Author Ann Napolitano

Thank you, @netgalley and @thedialpress, for the opportunity to read @annnapolitano's latest. I loved Dear Edward so much that I knew that I needed to have a copy to add to my @bookofthemonth collection!

Not to mention that Hello Beautiful was chosen as Oprah's 100th book club pick and one of the most anticipated reads of 2023! I also had the absolute honor to meet Ann in an author chat last night hosted by @amy_alwaysreading and, and now I love this book even more!

Hello Beautiful is a tender and incredibly compassionate family saga of love, grief, and of the profound and dynamic bonds of family. Inspired by the postcards that her uncle sent to her when she was young addressed  as "Hello Beautiful," Ann explained that she felt beautiful inside and out as they were from a relative that she rarely saw in person. This inspired her title and the way the Padavano patriarch loved and cared for his four unique daughters. 

Julia is the eldest and her father's "rocket." She's a planner, a fixer, and radiates life. Sylvie, a librarian, is a kind and compassionate dreamer. Cecelia, a free spirit, is a creative artist filled with passion, and her twin, Emeline, loves children and takes care of them all. 

A quiet and lonely soul, William, meets Julia and is swept away by her attention and the idea that someone like her could be interested in someone like him. Before long, Julia introduces him to her family and his life becomes entangled with the Padavano's in ways that force Willian to close and then open his heart to life and love. He is perfectly flawed and broken and just stole my heart. 

As the eldest of four, I've never read a family saga as relatable or one that so accurately conveys the simple yet complicated connections between siblings. Relationships that are intertwined in shared memories, secrets, past hurts and betrayals, immeasurable bonds, guilt, love, and the inevitable consequence of the passing of time that forces us to learn how to hold on and how, sometimes, to let go. 

Moving, engrossing, and empathic, Hello Beautiful is a must- read and an absolute 2023 favorite of mine!
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A story that focuses on 4 sisters and other members of their family. The story is told in third person mostly from 3 perspective, 2 sisters, and a man in their lives.

I found myself alternately enjoying, loving and feeling bored by these characters. I loved getting to know them, but there was a lot of repetition. This partly comes from the fact that there are several perspectives described of the same shared experiences.
I think I would have been more fully engaged throughout if at least one perspective had been written in first person.

This book is excellent for readers who enjoy character driven stories that focus on challenges of family relationships, love, mental health and growth from secrets toward greater authenticity. 

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I got a little lost with this book, it took me so much time to get into the story and also to really enjoy it, til this point, I'm not sure if I really enjoy it as I was not feeling the characters as much as I wish.

Hello Beautiful, is the story of William a man who had a very tragic life, his family was not what we could expect, he had "moved on" making a new life far away but something happened that came to jeopardize this happiness and this new life, bringing sadness drama and old memories to the surface.

Julia and her three sisters were somehow enjoyable but at times I had to admit I got a little annoyed with all the unsolicited feedback they give.

Overall it was a good book, I just got lost in so many words and that's what really didn't hook me that much to the story but that's just me.

Thank You, NetGalley and Dial Press, for the advanced copy of Hello Beautiful in exchange for my honest review
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This book is an amazing family saga. Perfect for book groups & discussions. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a character-driven novel. Only complaint- it seems as though parts were written about the 1950s not the 1980s.
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Sometimes you read a book that you know is well-written and enjoyed by the majority of readers, but no matter how hard you try, you simply can't get into it. This is how I felt about Ann Napolitano's Hello Beautiful. Although it was well-written with characters that many readers adored, I found myself bored throughout the majority of the book.

Hello Beautiful follows the four Padavano sisters, who in some ways deliberately resemble the Little Women sisters, and William, who will become intertwined with their family in ways they could never have imagined as children. Each sister has her own story, complete with successes and failures, but the story is driven by the relationships between the characters and how their stories intersect. As each character ages, their relationship history and life decisions weigh heavily on them, and they must make a decision to change course before it's too late.

Hello Beautiful was a well-written book with complex, believable, and relatable characters. Unfortunately, the story's details never really piqued my interest, and by the end I only finished the book to complete it. However, I recognize that my opinion is probably an outlier, and since so many people enjoyed the book, I recommend that you read other reviews before deciding whether to read it for yourself.
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William has lived a life of sadness and neglect, but when he meets Julia in college, she brings him into the circle of her family. She and her three sisters are extremely close, and their lives are defined by these relationships. He is struck by the joy and closeness of the family, and how easily he’s welcomed. All of this new joy is threatened when fallout from the lingering struggles of his past leads to a rift in the family.

This book has been described as an homage to Little Women, and it’s gotten rave reviews from many readers I trust. I fully expected to love it, but I have to admit: I struggled with this one. The reading was slow, and the time period felt off; I had to continuously remind myself that it was set in the 80s, not the 50s or 60s, which was where some of the main characters felt like they belonged. I’m also realizing that I don’t particularly like retellings; they’re distracting for me as I try to place the characters and events into the original work. This did redeem itself for me toward the end, raising its rating. I feel like this is a safe book to recommend–tons of people adored it–but unfortunately, I’m not among the readers raving about it.
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I was too tired to finish this book, but then woke up at 5am to finish the last 100 pages- weeping. This may be my favorite book of the year- and the one I suggest to everyone! What a beautiful story. While the story starts with William Waters, the book is really about the Padavano family who adopts him: Julia, Sylvie, Cecelia and Emeline. The story follows William's connection with the family throughout the years. Napolitano does an expert job of creating complex and complete characters who's every actions make complete sense as the plot progresses. It is one of the more beautiful, accurate, and heartwrenching depictions of depression I've read. I loved all the characters and their bonds with each other- both through sisterhood, family, and friendship. This is the book everyone needs to read this year. Thanks . #HelloBeautiful #NetGalley for the ARC.
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*** 4.5 ⭐️ ***

This book follows the life of the Padavano sisters (which is slightly confusing since the first chapter is about a character named William) and the joy and pain they all share.  This book is about the one-two punches that life throws at us:  when a door closes, a window is opened... when one thing dies, another is born.  This book is about life and death, loss and forgiveness.  This book is about love.

Outside of these cliches, and without giving any spoilers, a few major life events occur that have dire consequences for the sisters that, ultimately, end up spanning a roughly 25-year disconnect.  Also not a spoiler, and I'm not ashamed to admit it, the last few chapters had me ugly crying as well. 

The only reason I'm not rating this book a full 5 stars is because, around the 30% mark, I was so bored, I was seriously contemplating DNFing it.  It finally started to pick up around 40% to 45%, and I am quite pleased that I did not throw in the towel.

This ARC was provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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4.5 star rounded up. Ann does it again—but this time with a more fast-paced, multi-generational family drama. Literary fiction at its best, truly. I loved reading the flawed, ever-evolving stories of William and the four sisters. If you like the tight-knit Little Women sisters with a dash of drama and far more intrigue, this might be up your alley. My only small gripe with the book is that most of the characters felt so real until one key relationship developed. That relationship felt too perfect and buttoned-up for these pages, but that's all I will say. It was such a treat to spend time with this book.

CW: mental health, depression, childhood neglect, suicide attempt, death of loved ones, cancer, divorce
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A beautiful cover and sweeping story that mirrors little women.   Spoke about subjects that need to be spoken about.   Really enjoyed
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I was so excited to read this after the great reviews. BUT I couldnt get into this at all. The characters seemed blah to me and the story dragged one.
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After hearing and seeing so much hype about this one, I just couldn’t get into it. It seemed choppy & it just didn’t flow. Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for this copy for review
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I could not put down this emotional family drama from the moment I started it.  I devoured it in days and felt immersed in the lives of the Padavano sisters and of William Waters. It has themes of family, love and forgiveness among many others and I was so invested in these characters.  I especially loved Kent, William's friend, who is the friend we all should have in our lives and the type of friend I want to be to others.  It's a beautiful relationship.  While I liked Dear Edward, there were times I felt it was a bit long but Hello Beautiful was a longer book and felt like it went by in a flash.  This book was excellent in audiobook format and highly recommend. I switched between print and audiobook seamlessly.
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