Hello? by Liza M. Wiemer
One HELLO can change a life. One HELLO can save a life.
Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma’s death.
Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.
Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.
Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.
Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.
Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens’ stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.
Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian).
This book sucked me in from the first chapter. Tricia is suffering after her grandmother’s death 5 months earlier. She can’t seem to find her way out of her depression, and when her childhood best friend turned boyfriend finally breaks up with her, she’s ready to commit suicide. She makes a last ditch attempt to get a sign from her grandmother (who promised to always watch over her) and calls her grandmother’s old phone number. Emerson answers. He’s struggling too. They make promises to each other: one is Emerson will change his phone number tomorrow. If they’re meant to meet, they will.
The story continues from there with different points of view: Tricia, Emerson, Brian (Tricia’s ex-boyfriend), Angie’s (Emerson’s girlfriend), and Brenda (Angie’s best friend and Brian’s cousin). Angie’s chapters are written in poetry, and Brenda’s are written as plays – those were my favorite.
Each teen is facing some heavy stuff – almost too much at times. But the themes of honesty, young love, and family run deep throughout all of the story lines. I especially loved the honest truth about love and sex as told through Tricia and Brian’s relationship. And I really enjoyed how Brenda’s emotions were written as notes to the actors in her “script” chapters.
This book is very creative and very powerful. My only other complaint is that it was a little too silly and high school-y for me at times. But I suppose even that was realistic.
I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t realize it took place in Door County, WI – one of our favorite vacation spots! That was extra fun for me.
My Rating: 4 stars
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