Review of Hello Stranger by Katherine Center
I couldn't get past the holes in the premise of this lighthearted, romantic, zany rom-com long enough to buy into the story of an artist with face blindness who falls for two men, despite not being able to identify them with any dependability.
Sadie Montgomery thought she was at a high point in her life. She was a finalist in the North American Portrait Society competition...but then she woke up unable to recognize faces as anything more than a jumble of features.
The doctors tell her it's likely temporary, but she can't help but panic. Meanwhile she's got family issues to cope with--and she's falling for two different men.
Hello Stranger has a zany premise, and the book is playful. But I found myself distracted and sometimes irritated by the over-the-top details.
Sadie provides an absurd and incredibly unhealthy dog diet for her beloved pet Peanut (takeout Thai food, for example), who is having health crises. This just seemed harmful and felt too ridiculous for me to buy into.
Her stepsister Parker is absurdly evil and vindictive. Eventually Parker is removed from the vicinity and only vaguely referenced again, but neither the years of systematic bullying and hateful behavior nor other family members' years of support of Parker and disbelief when Sadie attempted to unveil the truth are satisfyingly addressed.
I couldn't let go of the fact that it certainly felt more potentially dangerous than playful to me for Sadie to be entering into vulnerable, one-on-one, and sometimes romantic situations with unidentifiable people who might mean her harm.
And I just couldn't buy in to the idea that others' voices weren't a clue for Sadie as to their identity. She essentially shrugs and says she's not good with voices, but this just seemed so silly that I had difficulty buying into the premise necessary to perpetuate the lighthearted confusion--the heart of which you may easily identify.
The best-friendship was lovely, the dialogue was often sweet and funny, and the attraction was sweet and steaminess was entertaining.
I received a prepublication edition of this book courtesy of NetGalley and St. Martin's Press.
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If this book sounds intriguing, you might also be interested in the books on my Greedy Reading Lists Six Rom-Coms Perfect for Summer Reading, Six Great Light Fiction Stories Perfect for Summer Reading, and Six More Great Light Fiction Stories.