Hello Beautiful: Book summary and reviews of Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Hello Beautiful

A Novel

by Ann Napolitano

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano X
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward comes a poignant and engrossing family story that asks: Can love make a broken person whole?

William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him—so when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it's as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family, as she and her three sisters are inseparable: Sylvie, the family's dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book; Cecelia is a free-spirited artist; and Emeline patiently takes care of them all. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos.

But then darkness from William's past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia's carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters' unshakeable devotion to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?

An exquisite homage to Louisa May Alcott's timeless classic, Little Women, Hello Beautiful is a profoundly moving portrait of what is possible when we choose to love someone not in spite of who they are, but because of it.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Napolitano explores the meaning of love and family with this striking story… [she] breathes great life into her characters, and brings insight into their quiet moments as they gradually come into their own. This will move readers." - Publishers Weekly

"Napolitano spins a saga of familial love, deception, and hope for healing while adeptly highlighting each family member's unique position in the narrative. Napolitano's characters can break your heart as they work to mend their own." - Kirkus Reviews

"This sumptuous family saga is one of those rare novels whose singular characters are so beautifully rendered, it's as if they're your best friends, and you're grateful to be in their orbit. Napolitano's homage to Little Women, albeit set in late-20th century Chicago, will prompt you to slow down as you read, never wanting the book to end. When it does, prepare for tears." - Oprah Quarterly

"Ann Napolitano's new novel, Hello Beautiful, is exactly that: beautiful, perceptive, wistful. It's a story of family and friendship, of how the people we are bound to can also set us free. I loved it." - Miranda Cowley Heller, New York Times bestselling author of The Paper Palace

"A rich, complex family saga, Hello Beautiful is a portrait oflove and grief in equal measure. Napolitano's prose is so lovely, so keenly perceptive, that it held me captive until I finished. A lot of people are going to love this story." - Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes

"Hello Beautiful is a profoundly moving and propulsive novel about the deepest connections of family and love, trauma and healing. In intricately elegant prose, Ann Napolitano explores both the cost and power of loyalty and honesty. This is a book to treasure and share with friends and loved ones." - Angie Kim, bestselling author of Miracle Creek

"Hello Beautiful is the work of a great author at the height of her powers. Equally immersive, emotional, and brilliantly crafted, this is an early contender for best novel of the year." - J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

This information about Hello Beautiful was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Shetreadssoftly

very highly recommended, poignant and complex family saga
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano is a very highly recommended, poignant and complex family saga. One of the best novels and character studies I've read this year. Absolutely excellent!

William Waters grew up feeling completely isolated and unloved by his parents. One world he was accepted in was playing basketball and so he embraced that identity. When Julia Padavano, an assertive young woman who knows what she wants, meets him during their freshman year of college, she decides William will be her boyfriend. She introduces him to her three sisters: Sylvie, Cecelia, and Emeline and then has him come to their home for dinner. William is overwhelmed and immediately accepted by the loving but boisterous family and he is grateful Julia cares and is in charge.

The two marry, according to Julia's plans, and she presses on with her agenda for their future. When events occur in the family that she can't control, it unsettles the foundation of her plans. The sisters continue to hold their strong bond to each other, but when a crippling darkness and depression take William over, Julia and William divorce, and William gives up all rights to their infant daughter, Alice. Sylvie, however, understands Williams struggles and she stays by his side, along with support from Cecelia and Emeline. Julia takes Alice and starts a new life in New York City, apart from his sisters.

The narrative alternates between the voices of William, Julia, Sylvie, and late in the book, Alice. At the beginning of each chapter are the years covered in the narration. The events corresponds realistically to the time periods covered. William is the first narrator and the chapter covers 1960-1978, starting with his birth. This continues until the last chapter set in 2008. Written into the narrative is a homage to Louisa May Alcott’s, Little Women, with the four sisters each taking on a different role.

Hello Beautiful is an exquisitely written, complicated, and perceptive family drama that asks if love make a broken person whole? Beyond that it is so much more. It is an exceptional character study. With great compassion and care, the narrative is an examination of how people can support each other during times of struggle and build a meaningful life. It is a celebration of family and friendship during the difficult times.

Honestly, these are some of the most finely written and well-developed characters I've encountered in a long time. All of the characters in Hello Beautiful are fully realized, and portrayed as authentic, unique individuals with flaws and strengths. They all experience change and growth. There is great insight into their inner lives and relationships with each other. Certainly Hello Beautiful will be on my list of best novels of 2023.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Random House via NetGalley.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Ann Napolitano Author Biography

Photo: Nicola Dove

Ann Napolitano is the author of Dear Edward, which was an instant New York Times bestseller, a Read with Jenna selection, and is now an Apple TV+ series. She is also the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm's Reach. For seven years, Napolitano was the associate editor of the literary magazine One Story, and she received an MFA from New York University. She has taught fiction writing at Brooklyn College's MFA program, New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and Gotham Writers Workshop.

Author Interview
Link to Ann Napolitano's Website

Name Pronunciation
Ann Napolitano: na-poll-ih-TAH-no (first syllable like 'ap' in apple)

Other books by Ann Napolitano at BookBrowse
  • A Good Hard Look jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more literary fiction...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: A Mystery of Mysteries
    A Mystery of Mysteries
    by Mark Dawidziak
    Edgar Allan Poe biographers have an advantage over other writers because they don't have to come up ...
  • Book Jacket: Moonrise Over New Jessup
    Moonrise Over New Jessup
    by Jamila Minnicks
    Jamila Minnicks' debut novel Moonrise Over New Jessup received the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially...
  • Book Jacket
    The Magician's Daughter
    by H.G. Parry
    "Magic isn't there to be hoarded like dragon's treasure. Magic is kind. It comes into ...
  • Book Jacket: The Great Displacement
    The Great Displacement
    by Jake Bittle
    On August 4, 2021, California's largest single wildfire to date torched through the small mountain ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Nurse's Secret
by Amanda Skenandore
A fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America's first nursing school.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Once We Were Home
    by Jennifer Rosner

    From the author of The Yellow Bird Sings, a novel based on the true stories of children stolen in the wake of World War II.

  • Book Jacket

    The God of Endings
    by Jacqueline Holland

    A suspenseful debut that weaves a story of love, history and myth through the eyes of one immortal woman.

Who Said...

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

R Peter T P P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.