About the Book:
Title: Hello Stranger
Author: Katherine Center
Page Length: 336
Publication Date: July 11, 2023
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: Sadie Montogmery has had good breaks and bad breaks in her life, but as a struggling artist, all she needs is one lucky break. Things seem to be going her way when she lands one of the coveted finalist spots in a portrait competition. It happens to coincide with a surgery she needs to have. Minor, they say. Less than a week in the hospital they say. Nothing about you will change, they say. Upon recovery, it begins to dawn on Sadie that she can see everything around her, but she can no longer see faces.
Temporary, they say. Lots of people deal with this, they say. As she struggles to cope―and hang onto her artistic dreams―she finds solace in her fourteen-year-old dog, Peanut. Thankfully, she can still see animal faces. When Peanut gets sick, she rushes him to the emergency vet nearby. That’s when she meets veterinarian Dr. Addison. And she’s pleasantly surprised when he asks her on a date. But she doesn’t want anyone to know about her face blindness. Least of all Joe, her obnoxious neighbor who always wears a bowling jacket and seems to know everyone in the building. He’s always there at the most embarrassing but convenient times, and soon, they develop a sort of friendship. But could it be something more?
As Sadie tries to save her career, confront her haunting past, and handle falling in love with two different guys she realizes that happiness can be found in the places―and people― you least expect.
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It takes a certain kind of courage to be brave in love. A courage you can only get better at through practice.
Every time I read a book by Katherine Center, it becomes one of my favorite reads of the year. I just love her writing style and how layered and unique the stories and characters are, and how her novels always make me feel all the feels. And Hello Stranger is my favorite read by Center yet. I loved everything about this book!
First things first – I want to be friends with Sadie Montgomery. She’s a portrait artist struggling to get by, and she becomes a finalist in a prestigious art contest that could propel her career. However, her dreams feel shattered when she learns she needs to have surgery, and the operation results in prosopagnosia or facial blindness. She can see everything except for people’s faces, which look like Picasso paintings. Not the best problem for a portrait artist.
Sadie goes through so much in the story as she deals with her new reality and faces some of the issues she’s been avoiding. Having prosopagnosia forces Sadie to see things in a new light, and this change in perspective influences her in ways she never expects. I thought her character was really relatable. We all go through things sometimes that feel totally out of our control, and it’s tough. Sadie, however, shows such strength and hope, and I love that about her. I think that’s why I hated some of the other characters so much because they treated Sadie so badly, and no one should be messing with Sadie.
Seeing the world differently helps you see things not just that other people can’t—but that you yourself never could if you weren’t so lucky. It lets you make your own rules. Color outside your own lines. Allow yourself another way of seeing.
I loathed her step-sister, and her step-mother and father weren’t much better, but their negativity and toxicity were balanced nicely with characters like Sadie’s best friend, her adorable dog, and so many other great secondary characters. Plus, there’s the romance, and if you know me, you know I’m all about a swoon-worthy romance! You might also know I’m not a big fan of a love triangle, but in this story, it totally works!
After Sadie’s diagnosis, she meets two men – Oliver, the new golden-voiced vet that helps her elderly dog during an emergency, and Joe, the brash neighbor she overhears speaking rudely about her but with whom she has sizzling chemistry. I loved trying to figure out who she was going to choose. They both bring different things to the table, and the banter and chemistry with each of them is fantastic.
I can’t say enough about Hello Stranger. Katherine Center has a way of telling stories that hook me from the first page. In Hello Stranger, the characters are realistic and relatable, and they have a lot of depth. And they’re so funny. There are a bunch of laugh-out-loud moments that completely endeared me to certain characters! Her stories are refreshing, funny, heartwarming, and fun, and the messages of resilience, taking chances, and knowing your worth are fantastic. And the love stories!! I adore them!!
Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
We’re all just muddling through, after all. We’re all just doing the best we can. We’re all struggling with our struggles. Nobody has the answers. And everybody, deep down, is a little bit lost.
- The romance.
- The characters.
- The humor.
- The writing style.
I think the ways we care about each other matter just as much as the way we let each other down.
Isn’t it lucky when we’re drawn to people who can teach us things we need to learn?
“I am, apparently, too helpful. Problematically helpful. To sum up our many arguments: I help everybody all the time without discretion. Old ladies. Cub Scouts. Mangy cats. I have no helping filter.”