Title: Hello Girls by Emily Henry and Brittany Cavallaro
Published: August 6th, 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books
Notes: I received an ARC of this book at Yallwest. I’m under no obligation to review this book, and all opinions are my own (as per usual.)
Noteworthy: Vigilante girls, a great friendship, TW for physical abuse and manipulation, lots of discussion on misogyny and female empowerment
Rating: ★★★★½, 4.5/5
From Google Books:
Thelma and Louise gets remade in this powerful, darkly funny teen novel from acclaimed authors Brittany Cavallaro and Emily Henry. Two teenage girls who have had enough of the controlling men in their lives take their rage on the road to make a new life for themselves.
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 a lifetime 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. One hour later, they’re armed with a plan that will take them from their small Michigan town to Chicago.
All they need is three grand, fast. And really, a stolen convertible can’t hurt.
Chased by the oppression, toxicity, and powerlessness that has held them down, Winona and Lucille must reclaim their strength if they are going to make their daring escape—and get away with it.
This book blindsided me in the best possible way.
Let’s start at the beginning, which was rocky, to say the least. The authors gave very little background information and it was hard to care about Winona’s plight or understand the depth of Lucille’s struggles, and how these two very different people are connected. But after the first few chapters and the initial disinterest, I was hooked.
I’m very hesitant when reading books with any form of grief and abuse in them, since it can be triggering for me and I rather not go down that road. Maybe my eyes jumped over the bad parts, maybe the abuse (which only included a few brief examples) wasn’t that bad? Either way, I found myself flying through this book, despite the troupes and plot details that usually throw me off.
“Babe, if you want to rob a gas station in Louboutins, that’s your prerogative, and I support you.”
The characters were very real but got a bit frustrating at times. It’s categorized as YA but the characters seem to be written like adults, and hardly like almost-adult teens. That had me disconnecting from the story a bit, but they did still seem like real, raw people that I might have met before at one point in my life. I especially sympathized with Winona, who was spontaneous and naïve but just wanted to believe in “happily ever after” after all the negative things she went through.
The plot was a bit predictable. That is to say, all the major points (the climax, the falling action, and the resolution) were all easily guessed by yours truly. Everything before and in between was surprising and gripping. I remember sitting there and thinking “oh my god how are they going to get out of this?”
“Together they would keep going, always.”
I LOVE strong friendships in books almost as much as I love a good sibling bond, and this book served great friendship representation—both the beautiful and the ugly. That’s probably what I’ll remember most about this book: the realistic and deep bond between the two female main characters. Everything else, the commentary on misogyny and the emphasis on female empowerment, is icing on the cake.
In short: I highly recommend this book and I promise it is so much more than you think at first glance.