Colleen Hoover’s romance/YA book, November 9 : A Novel, was on the New York Times Fiction Bestsellers List last year and from there, on my TBR list for a long, long time. It wasn’t until now that I actually got down to doing that. Tuck in your napkin, have the knife and fork handy and get ready to devour this review.
Fallon O’Neil is an 18-year old with a has been-star father. She was an up-and-coming actress herself till she was 16, when a fire scarred most of the left part of her body and grounded her career. Now 18, she decides to leave LA for New York to pursue a career in acting despite her scars. The day before she is to move – November 9 – she meets Ben (short for Benton James Kessler). Ben is an aspiring novelist and the two of them hit it right off the bat, enjoying each other’s company for the whole day and deciding to meet every year on the same date for the next 5 years, when they’ll decide whether they want to be together or not. They make a pact not to get in touch with each other on any other date. Ben decides to write a book on their story. Couple of years into this arrangement, there’s a twist when Ben seems to be hiding something from her, something that could be the ultimate plot twist for his novel but might wreck their real lives.
I’ve never been much of a romantic fiction buff and I might not even have picked this book up had I known beforehand that this also was of that genre. I knew there was a love story but I was under the illusion that the mystery part surrounding Ben’s secret would be the central plot point. How wrong I was! This is romance, and YA at that. The cheesy-ness of the text for the first 60% or so bored me no end. I even skimmed through some paragraphs where all they do is throw in more cheese and butter on the text. The novel is pretty meta in the sense that we have a book here, and there’s another book inside it. See it’s not just an idea of the book, but an actual manuscript that we readers get to read too. On a number of occasions, the lead pair discuss their lives and how their meetings and characters should be adapted for the book. I can’t say I enjoyed those portions. Where it gets good is in the last 30% or so when we get the twists that force a change in the pace and direction of the narrative. The intervening 10% provides a twist which looked fairly lame to me. This being a spoiler-free review, I won’t divulge the reveals and all but suffice it to say that the last 30% that I mentioned kind of redeemed the book for me. Heck, it even moistened my eyes at one point!
Now if you are a fan of YA or romance genre,my guess is you’d absolutely love this book. It might even make your Top 10 list since it was certainly good enough to make the NYT Bestsellers list. If you’re like me though, who enjoys a more gritty take on the whole “love is life” thing or doesn’t quite enjoy this genre, you might as well skim through it. I wouldn’t say skip it because it’s certainly worth a light read, like with popcorns and pizza on a lazy weekend. What’s a light read, you say? That’s a question for another day.
Genre : Romance, Young Adult, College, Contemporary.
Rating : 3/5
Share your views and thoughts on the book (and the review 😉 ) in the comments section. Thanks for reading.