Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: August 6th 2019
Best friends are forged by fire. For Winona Olsen and Lucille Pryce, that fire happened the night they met outside the police station—both deciding whether to turn their families in.
Winona has been starving for life in the seemingly perfect home that she shares with her seemingly perfect father, celebrity weatherman Stormy Olsen. No one knows that he locks the pantry door to control her eating and leaves bruises where no one can see them.
Lucille has been suffocating beneath the needs of her mother and her drug-dealing brother, wondering if there’s more out there for her than disappearing waitress tips and generations of barely getting by.
One harrowing night, Winona and Lucille realize they can’t wait until graduation to start their new lives. They need out. Now. All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible to take them from Michigan to Las Vegas can’t hurt.
ARC provided by Katherine Tegen Books in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review
🚨TRIGGER/ CONTENT WARNING:🚨
Emotional and physical abuse, toxic family environment, manipulation, murder, gambling
“There she was, in the dead of the night, dressed like a cartoon bank robber and driving a red convertible with a trunk full of loot.”
Hello Girls is the new contemporary novel that tells the story of Lucille and Winona, two seniors in high school who–desperate to leave their toxic home lives behind– runaway in hopes of not only finding their freedom but also to find themselves.
Winona Olsen is the timid teenager who lives her life in perfection and fear. Growing up as Stormy Olsen’s daughter is a life that to everyone else would be a dream come true, however, for Winona it’s a living nightmare 24/7. Winona lives out the hours and minutes of her days dreaming of the time where she will finally be free from her abusive father, where she will finally be able to breathe. Lucille dreams of the day where she can finally just be. To everyone in their small town, she is the trailer trash and will always be just that. But being one of the main providers to her family, Lucilla just dreams of being able to want–to not have to worry about paying the bills on time or making sure there is enough money to feed her mother and selfish drug dealing brother.
I adored getting to know these girls and their struggles–watching as they slowly took back their lives from those they were suppose to be able to lean on, was something I was totally here for. The contrast between the two character’s backgrounds are stark and completely different, but their friendship and hardships connect them in ways that truly show that you can choose and create your own family.
“Why did people lie? With their words, with their voices, with their bodies, with their beautiful houses and beautiful clothes and sometimes even their faces? Why couldn’t everyone just be what they were? Monsters should look like monsters”
Other than the characters, I honestly had mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I was gripped by this novel. It’s unique writing style from both the authors blended so effortlessly that I never noticed it was two different people writing in this world. The voice strong and effortless, I was able to picture each and every scene that came through the page. But on the other hand after a while I began to lose investment into the story and couldn’t wait to just be done with it. The girls began to make dumb decisions as we got deeper into the story and they put their trust into the same person that resembled the very same people they were running away from. Crimes were committed up and down this story and yet there was never any consequences for their actions. After so much realism in the beginning, the lack of it through me off of the story after 67%.
Like I said before though, the unique writing and the characters were solid enough that I continued to finish this story and see their story play out till the end. If you are itching for a good young adult Thelma and Louis, I do recommend you giving this one a go! Fast paced, adventurous and heart wrenching; Hello Girls is a story about finding out who you are when everyone else tries to paint the portrait for you.
Huge thank you to Katherine Tegen Books and Fantastic Flying Bookclub for sending me an ARC for my honest review! Quotations taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon final publication.
-About The Authors-
Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte Holmes novels from HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, including A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE, THE LAST OF AUGUST, and THE CASE FOR JAMIE (forthcoming in March 2018). She’s also the author of the poetry collection GIRL-KING (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in Michigan with her husband, cat, dog, and collection of deerstalker caps.
Emily Henry is the author of The Love That Split the World and A Million Junes. She is a full-time writer, proofreader, and donut connoisseur. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. She tweets @EmilyHenryWrite.