“’…And I promised my mother I wouldn’t fall in love with anyone until I’m twenty-three.’ […] ‘Why twenty-three?’ ‘My mother says the majority of people have their lives figured out by the age of twenty-three, so I want to make sure I know who I am and what I want out of life before I allow myself to fall in love.’” – Colleen Hoover, November 9
RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU FEEL PERSONALLY VICTIMIZED BY COLLEEN HOOVER BECAUSE YOU’RE TWENTY-THREE BUT DON’T HAVE YOUR LIFE FIGURED OUT YET.
That line upset me so much that I had to use capslock, and I don’t like to shout. I need my delicate vocal cords at their prime at any given moment. Now, I’m sitting here, thinking about what to say about this book, and all I can think about is how many tragedies there are in a single book of barely 300-something pages. I can’t help but feel so confused because I remember smiling and chuckling at various times while reading November 9, but upon reflection it feels like a very, overly-dark book. We’ve got suicide, fires, car crashes, heartbreak and more. I know Colleen Hoover really likes to pull some pretty punchy-punches with her plot twists but this feels like she decided to take it up a notch or two-hundred and fifty in that regard.
I wasn’t impressed with the last CoHo book I read (Ugly Love), so I was really hoping this one would be a home run. For me, it definitely wasn’t. I’ll *briefly* preface this by saying that I always enjoy Colleen Hoover’s writing- I’m consistently impressed with the natural chemistry her characters have and I often find myself chuckling here and there while reading. I don’t think aspect was lacking in November 9 however, it wasn’t enough to sustain this book for me. I didn’t love the premise of the male protagonist being a writer who is writing a romance novel about the romance novel I was reading. It felt WAYY to meta and I love meta things. Truly, there is nothing more satisfying then entertainment that completely breaks the 4th wall, (i.e. Undateable, Supernatural, and I’m DYING to see Deadpool). Give me all the meta things… except everything in November 9. I cringed so hard at things like: ‘TBR pile,’ booksting,’ ‘insta-love,’ and ‘alpha-male alter ego,’ that I now have a permanent shoulder crick. I truly don’t know if it was meant to be ‘meta’ given the fact that the two main characters were a writer and reader, but whether it was or wasn’t, either way- it just didn’t work for me.
I also wanted to highlight this exert: “’But you obviously like the bad boys if you like reading about them.’ ‘Actually, that’s not true,’ I tell him. ‘I enjoy reading books like that because it’s not at all the life I lead. It’s completely different than any situation I’ll ever be in, thank God. But I get entertainment out of it. Because as much as I like to read about a guy telling a girl she’s so, so wet for him… if anyone ever said that to me during sex, I wouldn’t be turned on by it. I would be terrified I accidently peed on myself.’ Ben laughs. ‘And if you and I were having sex and you told me you owned me, I would literally crawl out from under you, put on my clothes, walk out of your house, and go puke in your front yard. So just because I like reading about those kinds of guys, doesn’t mean I need my real-life guys to act like that.’”
… which felt odd to me. Then it got even weirder when those EXACT things actually happened. I couldn’t tell if Colleen Hoover was defending romance novels, or trying to fight the good fight for us readers of romance novels… both maybe? I’m not sure what the goal was but it was a theme I noticed throughout the book and it felt off. More of a Good Morning America conversation than one to have in an actual book. No need to preach the virtues of romance novels to the readers of a romance novel… we are already here for the party! (p.s. have I won an award for the excessive usage of the term ‘romance novels in a short paragraph yet??)
I’m going to have to give this one a hard ‘no’ in terms of my recommendations. There’s better out there (some by CoHo herself!) BUUUT, if you’ve read November 9 let me know what you thought! I’d love to hear another perspective!