Book Review: Hopeless

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Colleen Hoover is one of those self-publishing authors I’ve been talking about recently who is blazing the trails in the publishing industry. She originally self-published her first novel, Slammedto give her friends and family an opportunity to read the manuscript she’d been working so hard on. Little did she know she would become an overnight success. She has since published a sequel to Slammed, Point of Retreatand her most recent novel, Hopeless, which has already spent some time in the top ten on the New York Times Best Seller list, even though it is currently only available in e-book form. In the new hybrid form of publishing, Hoover self-published the e-book version of Hopeless while contracting with a literary agent and Atria Books for the print copy (due out on May 7).

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Amazon Description of Hopeless:

Would you rather know a truth that makes you feel hopeless, or keep believing the lies?Beloved and bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with the spellbinding story of two young people with devastating pasts who embark on a passionate, intriguing journey to discover the lessons of life, love, trust—and above all, the healing power that only truth can bring. Sky, a senior in high school, meets Dean Holder, a guy with a promiscuous reputation that rivals her own. From their very first encounter, he terrifies and captivates her. Something about him sparks memories of her deeply troubled past, a time she’s tried so hard to bury. Though Sky is determined to stay far away from him, his unwavering pursuit and enigmatic smile break down her defenses and the intensity of the bond between them grows. But the mysterious Holder has been keeping secrets of his own, and once they are revealed, Sky is changed forever and her ability to trust may be a casualty of the truth. Only by courageously facing the stark revelations can Sky and Holder hope to heal their emotional scars and find a way to live and love without boundaries. Hopeless is a novel that will leave you breathless, entranced, and remembering your own first love.

My Observations:

Naturally, as a self-publishing author, I was curious to read the novel that has brought Colleen Hoover such success. And I was not disappointed. The beginning was a little slow for me, as the plot didn’t swing into full gear until around page 200, but once I got hooked, I could not put it down. Her characters are not your run-of-the-mill teenagers. Holder, the misunderstood bad boy, and Sky, the sheltered girl, are endearing young adults, wise beyond their years due to the hardships they have been forced to face in their young lives.

From a writer’s perspective, I found it curious that Hoover doesn’t label anything—not the type of car Holder drives or the takeout food they eat or the name of the motel they stay in. That’s neither right or wrong but a personal taste for the author. I’m curious how my writer friends feel about labeling. The dialogue between Holder and Sky is often preachy, and Hoover’s brilliant one-liners are often lost in unnecessary wordiness. But the bottom line is: Hopeless left me wanting for more of Holder and Sky. And like the successful hybrid-publishing author she is, Colleen Hoover will release Losing Hope on kindle on July 9 and in paperback on October 15.

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