April 22, 2014

After Hello - Lisa Mangum

After Hello - Lisa Mangum
After Hello by Lisa Mangum
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Source/Format: Borrowed from Rachel || Hardcover 

Seventeen-year-old Sara is a seeker. She’s always on the lookout for the perfect moment to capture with her ever-present, point-and-shoot camera, especially on her first trip to New York City. 

Sam is a finder. He has a knack for finding what other people can’t—a first-edition book or the last two tickets to a sold-out Broadway show. In New York, there is always something interesting to find. 

When Sam and Sara’s paths cross, neither one of them is prepared for what they will find out about each other—and about themselves when they form an unlikely partnership in search of a seemingly elusive work of art. They have one day to find the impossible. Fate brought their talents together, but what happens when time runs out? Will love be able to overcome fate? (from Goodreads)

How many of you believe in fate - of things falling into place just so because they were meant to? How many of you also believe that every choice you make determines the course of your life? I believe in both these things, which is why After Hello resonated so strongly on a personal level. On the surface, it seems like the story of a girl, and a boy, and a one-day adventure they share in New York City. But the book is much more than that -- it's a challenge to readers to think about fate, choice, and past, present and future.

After Hello is narrated by the two main characters, Sam and Sara, in the form of alternating chapters. It was a nice touch, as using the dual point of view gives readers a chance to get to hear from both Sam and Sara. For the most part, the story wound up reading well, with an easy flow from one chapter to the next, one event to the next. However, there were a few occasions where I found myself confused about whose chapter I was reading, since their voices did sound very similar.

But this story wasn't about the characters -- it was about the journey. I've said it many times on the blog about various books, and I'll say it again about this book: sometimes, the journey is just enough to get to me when I'm reading something. In the course of one day, Sam and Sara go on a whirlwind trip around New York City. Their adventures, and the interesting personalities they encounter along the way, make for a fun read (and are also easy to visualize, so it's easy to imagine this one as a film). Both learn from their experiences and from each other, and it changes them forever. Cliche as it may sound, it's actually quite possible and Mangum tackles that possibility relentlessly in After Hello

Sure, there were a few instances where the words felt preachy and slightly unnatural when someone said it. And there were definitely moments where the writer worked a little “movie magic” (where unbelievable coincidences appear). But these things weren’t so bothersome, as the message of this book was one I really connected with.

After Hello was a surprising, refreshing read. While I didn’t particularly care for either character, I did care about the story and how it made me feel while I read it. Even though it was pretty short, it definitely packed a lot of thoughtfulness in. Books that make me think are generally the kind that I wind up liking, and it was no different in the case of After Hello.


  1. I read this one, I think last year, and I really enjoyed this one. It was short, but it was really cute and it was a nice read when you want something different!

    1. Yes! I agree. It was unexpectedly good, and just the kind of sweet, interesting contemporary story that I really go for sometimes.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I did have some issues with the things you mentioned which was sad because I really thought I would just fall into this book! It did have a nice message but I was hoping to get a bit more from the characters
    Lovely and thoughtful review :)

    1. I can totally understand wanting more from the characters! I think I just found myself focusing more on the message in the book, which is why it wound up being such a great reading experience for me.


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