Welcome to Refracted Light’s
blog tour stop!
hosted by Oops! I Read a Book Again
When I picked up After Hello, I was crossing my fingers for a story that was both adorable and heartwarming. And all things considered, it succeeded. Consider my heart adorably warmed.
In New York for one day only, Sara’s plans to spend the visit with her dad fall through giving her carte blanche to explore the Big Apple all on her own. When she snaps a quick pic of a boy leaving a bookstore, Sara’s interest is piqued and on a whim, she follows him, finding herself swept up into what can only be described as a scavenger hunt… on steroids… but that has more serious consequences than your average game of scavenger hunt.
Sam has a reputation — he can find anything for anyone, and he has a talent for knowing what people want and what they need. Little does he suspect that the quirky, pretty tourist he caught tailing him from the bookstore — that this serendipitous meeting — might just lead him to his more challenging job yet, but more importantly, might also be the key to finding what it is Sam needs (and wants) most.
Sara and Sam were fantastic protagonists, both getting to narrate their perspectives of their story. Which was notable in this particular case since Sara’s POV happens in first person, and Sam’s happens in third. I didn’t really know what to think about that at first, and I’m not really sure why the mix of narration styles, but it actually ended up working for me. It’s different, and I like it. And bonus? I never got confused by who was talking. Score.
Sara & Sam had a great rapport with each other. Both a little strange, both a little adventurous, both with unique views of the world, both struggling with their own deep-seated emotional issues. Both recognizing in each other a kindred spirit. I like Sara’s gutsy, “fly-by-the-seat-of-her-adorable-jeans” attitude. I love how even though certain situations were scary and new, she pushes herself out of her comfort zone and tried anyway. I like her perspective, her normalcy, her groundedness, her friendliness, her genuine-feeling teenagery-ness. And though Sara is my favorite character in After Hello, I also like Sam’s love of the how, his view of life as an adventure, his outward observations and inner monologue, his ability to read people and situations, his views on trading and value. Both Sara & Sam come to the trading table with something the other one needs, and it was interesting to watch those realizations come to light as their partnership/friendship blossoms. And, let me just say, the relationship Mangum establishes between them, while intense for such a short acquaintance, feels like an organic progression. It feels realistic and authentic.
Where I think this story faltered a bit for me was that it tried a little too hard to be deep and philosophical. In some instances it worked really well, but in other instances it felt a little much or too forced. Being that there was a deadline on Sam & Sara’s search, I was expecting more of a fast-paced race around the city to locate this elusive item that they had promised to find. But some of these regular profundity pit stops, while aiding the character and relationship development, caused the story to lose it’s gaining momentum.
However, while that may be…
Overall. In the mood to cuddle up with a book that’s adorable, heartwarming, and sweetly romantic? Then check out After Hello.