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Hello Now

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From Carnegie Medal finalist Jenny Valentine comes a bold new story about love and second chances, perfect for fans of the popular film Sliding Doors and David Levithan's Every Day.

Jude's life is upended when his mother loses her job and moves them to a little town by the sea to live with Henry Lake--an eccentric old man with rooms to rent. Henry is odd, the town is dull, and worst of all, Jude feels out of place and alone.

So when Novo turns up in the house across the street, dressed all in black and looking unbearably handsome, Jude's summer takes an immediate turn for the better. But Novo isn't all that he seems to be--or maybe he's more than Jude can possibly understand. Novo is a time traveler, someone who wakes up in different places and at different points in time with utter regularity. He knows that each Now is fleeting, that each moment is only worth the energy it expends on itself, and that each experience he has will be lost to him before long.

But Jude and Novo form a bond that shifts reality for both of them. Unlike anything he's ever experienced, Jude begins to question what forever really means--only to find out that Novo knows that forever isn't real. And when things go horribly wrong, he and Novo are faced with an impossible question that may change both of their lives irreparably--what is worth sacrificing for love?

A stunningly written, compelling exploration of what it means to love and live in the moment that quite literally defies both logic and time.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published March 3, 2020

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About the author

Jenny Valentine

28 books164 followers
Jenny Valentine moved house every two years when she was growing up. She has just moved house again, probably not for the last time. She worked in a wholefood shop in Primrose Hill for fifteen years where she met many extraordinary people and sold more organic loaves than there are words in her first novel. She has also worked as a teaching assistant and a jewellery maker. She studied English Literature at Goldsmiths College, which almost put her off reading but not quite.
Jenny is married to a singer/songwriter and has two children.

In 2007, Jenny won the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction with her debut novel FINDING VIOLET PARK.

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5 stars
36 (9%)
4 stars
68 (17%)
3 stars
145 (37%)
2 stars
104 (26%)
1 star
37 (9%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 97 reviews
Profile Image for Axellesbooks.
621 reviews124 followers
March 21, 2021
Dit boek is niet echt mijn ding. Ik snapte er namelijk niet zoveel van. Er zijn wel wat mooie zinnen, maar de schrijfstijl is me te "bloemig". Spijtig want ik had wel zin in dit boek. Het is niks voor mij, vraag me niet waarover het precies gaat want dat kan ik je niet vertellen.
Profile Image for Ellie (bookmadbarlow).
1,013 reviews60 followers
April 28, 2020
I am finding this book so hard to rate and so I am not going to star rate it. The writing beautifully described the act of falling in love, the moments when time slows down and it feels like there is only the two of you or the moments when everything feels super speedy and you are trying to catch your breath. This book tries to put into writing the way that feels in the moment, the feel of being invincible.
Unfortunately, although I can appreciate the writing, this book just wasn't my cup of tea, in places it just went too weird and it didn't really explain itself enough for me to be able to follow it. I couldn't picture the characters at all and I really struggle with that.
Overall at 190 pages and being a YA novel this is a quick read, so if you like quirky love stories I would suggest to give it a go.
Profile Image for Hâf.
408 reviews38 followers
May 5, 2020
I feel like this entire book is either a metaphor for falling in love or I just didn't understand a word of it. It was strangely magical yet confusing.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,739 reviews711 followers
March 24, 2020
I legit have no idea what I just read and I think I liked it.

Jude and Novo are interesting characters. They’re instantly attached and the story of why slowly slowly sloooooooowly unfolds. Henry was the most compelling character for me and there’s a definite reason why.

Plot wise, I don’t know. There are a lot of descriptions that I’m guessing are supposed to be whimsical and filled with magic and to me they were a bit pretentious. It was loads of inner monologue, a bit of gibberish, and nothing was completely clear, yet somehow it all works in a weird fashion.

Overall, it was a quick read and something I’ll likely be thinking about for a while.

**Huge thanks to Philomel Books for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Emma.
931 reviews887 followers
July 7, 2020
3.5/5 Stars

This book instantly drew me in and even though it wasn't the best thing I've ever read, I still think it was an enjoyable read. Could the whole thing have been done better? Yes. Did I enjoy it anyway? I totally did.

This story is definitely whimsical and things are left unexplained on purpose to keep the mystery alive, but I liked reading about Jude and Novo and their special and unique connection. I would have liked to see more chapters from Novo's point of view because I believe he was the most interesting character in the novel, but that's just my personal preference.

If you're looking for a different read, this is definitely it!
Profile Image for Henna.
557 reviews32 followers
May 13, 2020
Hello Now is whimsical, a strangely magical story of falling in love. It might be a metaphor for the experience of what it is to fall in love, particularly for the first time, and as such, it is a perfect, gorgeous metaphor. I certainly stopped at times to marvel at the thoughts and descriptions of feelings and surroundings. It might also be just a story of two people, Jude and Novo, their meeting and relationship. As such, the book captures beautifully the rush of first love, how it can make you forget everything else. Point is, I have no idea if Hello Now is a metaphor or a story, or if it's both. I don't think it matters as it's a gorgeous tale and quick read. I enjoyed all of it, the plentiful descriptions and the innocence of first love, and of course, the magical elements since this isn't a contemporary story.

For all those who are interested: go in knowing that there isn't much plot, some things evolve fast and it's magical realism. I do recommend Hello Now for it captures the experience of falling in love beautifully and it is an original take on it. But it might not be for everyone, because it's short and strange.

(A copy of this book was provided in return for an honest review.)
Profile Image for Starr ❇✌❇.
1,290 reviews130 followers
March 1, 2020
I received a DRC from Edelweiss

Normally I start my reviews with a quick synopsis of the book, but I can't do that with Hello Now because I genuinely cannot tell you what this book was. It involves time magic, and romance, and... nope, that's it.

The characters in the book are not characters. They are languishing poems set out on an otherwise empty page. They are despondent letters pushed together, until you can trick yourself into seeing faces in them, if you squint hard enough. Just like there is not clear plot, only vague elements, there is only a vague sensation that these characters have thoughts and feelings that are not "time is a thing, I guess" and "being pretentious".

I truly do believe that there was a story concept in this book somewhere, but I cannot point it out to you. I'm sure if this were instead a 15 page short story I could pin it down, and it would probably be really interesting! But instead this book is more akin to sticking your face into a cloud and then thinking about two people hypothetically falling in love, but having no characteristics of their own.

This book only gets points for me, because the writing style itself is really nice. It's lush, it's thoughtful, it made me think I'd really enjoy this book. Let's hope the next thing Jenny Valentine writes has more dimension, and a clearer plot, because I'd like her words to make me feel something other than confusion and an acute disappointment.
Profile Image for Ms  Kirby.
236 reviews13 followers
January 29, 2021
This is a book about romance and relationships which includes a dilemma. It has 2 young people meeting up, but one of them has amazing powers and will live forever. Will they stay together until one of them grows old and dies, leaving the other to mourn for all eternity?
As usual, Jenny Valentine's writing draws you along to the end, but after the book ended I could see plot flaws ( a bit like most films!)
Try it yourself - it is very readable and quite a short novel.
Profile Image for Esmée D'Costa.
225 reviews13 followers
December 4, 2020
It is so difficult to rate this book! So let me start off with the rating, 3,5 stars - 4 stars chosen since this book had me crying 5 times in the span of 20 pages and left me as an emotional but yet satisfied wreck at 2am in the morning. I just had to finish it!

And now my more elaborate review.

𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐦 - 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐥 - 𝐟𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 - 𝐥𝐠𝐛𝐭𝐪+ - 𝐥𝐲𝐫𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥

To start off with, Hello Now is a book with a writing style different from what I usually read and it was mentioned to have a bit of an David leviathan Every Day vibe to it! Based on that I expected to probably either absolutely love the sorry - but have no clue what I’m reading about and loose total perception of time 😂 hate it for the same reasons! I was completely surprised by the fact that nothing is less true!

The first 100 pages of the book were very difficult for me to get through, the book started off with a chapter from Nova’s POV and then was followed by a VERY LONG part of chapters from Jude’s POV. At that time I was struggling with the lyrical and magical writing style of Nova’s Chapter and the “easy” writing style of Jude’s, in which they were constantly complaining. It basically reminded me of my reading experience of Catcher in the Rye (endless pages about the life of a teenager no one is actually interested in reading - sorry if I just bashed your fave book). And did you notice I said “they” yes with “they” I meant Jude cause interestingly in the whole book and in the synopsis the gender of Jude isn’t mentioned (so it is interesting how the description here on goodreads makes Jude a “He” whereas the Dutch translation made Jude a “She”. I would have appreciated it if they would’ve stuck to the original and avoided the He/She pronouns just like in the original synopsis. This would have added the extra depth to the story, since this story tells you so much yet says nothing at all at the same time - but let’s not discuss that yet) *edit* the synopsis of the Dutch book has been altered online 12/04/2020

The writing was very diverse, beautiful sentences with riddles and metaphors continued in pieces with very elaborate descriptions of every single details and action. (Annoyingly so sometimes) BUT THEN at the half-way mark something magical happend - the meeting of Jude and Nova. And I’m not kidding. I was sceptical when reading the words “this book is truly magical” but tbh it’s one of the most fitting words I can find after reading it myself.
Not only did I love the meeting because it gave a drool worthy description of Nova (I am weak for collarbones and hollows at the base of the neck *I want to take a bite*🤤😂) BUT also because I could finally sense they the story was going some where, there was an acceleration.

Still the story didn’t make sense at some points and I can’t believe how often I thought “this is surreal” soaring chairs, moving people like puppets on strings and shop-owners their Inventory due to Nova’s godlike charisma/vibe? But that didn’t matter anymore since the story changed to character driven for me ever since Jude’s and Nova’s first conversation. Nova the handsome mysterious old tortured and lonely soul which you just want to know more about, how will his story end? What role will Jude play and how could it ever end well - falling in love with a time traveller? Someone who’s “Now” changes every time....

So I continue reading, I still can’t believe how this went from a DNF to me crying more than 5 times in 150 pages but it did. Even if you don’t fully understand what you are reading (the concept of time is vague and open to interpretation and just like Jude you can’t fully grasp it) this book will still floor you! I kept speculating about the relationships of the characters in this book and along the way kept being surprised bh twists and revelations which were incorporated in the story very nicely!

Now I understand that the writing wasn’t necessary ment to understand but they were able to make you FEEL. They have stripped me of all I am and know. I am pure emotions it is beautiful - and heart wrenching. I ache for something I don’t fully understand and someone I don’t truly know and - but it was beautiful.

Also the ending? Did I see it coming, yes. But it was a perfectly well executed ending and I am now an emotional wreck.

I received a dutch finished copy from ViB young adult for an honest review. Thank you!
Profile Image for Michele Harrod.
523 reviews47 followers
September 14, 2020
Adorable. A magical glimpse into the sort of love that feels like it should be with you for a lifetime, but somehow only seems to last a moment. Maybe it’s just us who have time all wrong, and the things we think we’ve lost, aren’t at all.

A great reminder to let your mind and heart travel back to the magical moments we’ve had, and to put down our devices and be in the magical now that I fear so many of us might be missing. Because let’s face it, that’s where the real magic lives.

We often wonder what we’d give for love, but sometimes, the question can be, ‘how much are we willing to let someone else give up’.

I’m very glad I spent some of my ‘now’ within the pages of this book. And after, back in some of my favourite ‘thens’, remembering a love still so sweet.
Profile Image for Melissa.
704 reviews8 followers
July 9, 2020
Great book for YA romance fans. The beginning of the book was a little abrupt, but the rest flowed. I love the timeless aspect of their story, Henry Lake as a character, and I love that we never know Jude's gender. Love is love.
107 reviews9 followers
May 7, 2020
Going into this one, I really didn't know what to expect, but I decided to give it a go since I also read Fire Colour One(Jenny Valentine's other book, it is amazing as well as this one). The whole story is very original and refreshing to read, and it begins with Jude, our main character, moving. She usually moves very often, and the reason for that is her mom. Of course, she loves her mom, but will never stop hating how much she has to change her surroundings and way of life. Jude is an interesting person who doesn't believe in love, until she met Novo. In this story, I liked the characters, although I haven't made up my mind on how I feel about Jude's mom. The whole "moving 3 times a day" just doesn't make sense to me, and I just see it as Jude suffering when she hasn't done anything wrong. Now let's talk about the writing. As I said with Fire Colour One, I will say with this one; Jenny Valentine's writing is so amazing, it is a pleasure to read. The words just flow, and to me it seems so effortless as it makes the whole book so easy to read. Usually, when I read books that have this whole "traveling through dimensions" thing going on, I understand the idea of it, but it is never really a hundred percent clear to me. In Hello Now, the author explained it so simply, but still it doesn't lose it's magic. The whole book is amazing, and definitely worth reading. The only complaint that I have; it is too short. I felt like I would've connected so much better with the characters, and that the whole story definitely has enough material to be a duology. Still, it is a very enjoyable read.
4/5 ☆
Profile Image for Libby Histed.
2 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2023
Amazing. Beautifully told and captivating. I think it can be hard to understand depending on the perspective you a viewing it through. However this perfectly describes the unknown. If anything is real. The blurred line of boundaries and life and death. Smart, clever, philosophical
Profile Image for KZS.
17 reviews
March 31, 2023
2.5 stars, i really wanted to like this but i couldn't comprehend a word since chapter 11
Profile Image for Juan.
187 reviews16 followers
July 19, 2020
3.5, rounded up because I feel bad that this book has such a low average rating. Like no, I didn’t find it particularly groundbreaking and it got a little slow in the middle, but 2.8? Am I missing something?
Profile Image for Marijke.
227 reviews14 followers
October 24, 2021
Het uitgangspunt van het verhaal is mooi en goed, de uitvoering mij iets te zweverig waardoor ik niet lekker in de flow bleef met lezen. Tussendoor wel veel prachtige zinnen tegengekomen, dat kan Jenny wel.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
67 reviews16 followers
October 9, 2019
"Why do we always want something to last forever just because it's good?" Novo said. "Why can't it being good be enough?"

Thanks to Edelweiss+ & Philomel books (Penguin Publishing) for an arc of this fascinating novel! It certainly delivered some magic into my life!

The writing in this story is really captivating! It has this ethereal & enchanting quality to it that really pulls you in. It's been a while since I've read anything time travel related but I found this story and these characters to be gorgeously written and the story maintained it's magic throughout. I feel like a lot of time travel themed stories you come to expect the sadness and doomed outcome of the characters, but I felt like Hello Now really intertwined the hope and the importance of our nows. Together and separately.

If you're looking for love and magic and the possibility of impossible things, then I definitely recommend you to add this gem of a story to your to-read list! I have a feeling I'll read this a time or two again to soak up any residual magic I missed the first time. ✨
Profile Image for Tegan.
18 reviews
November 13, 2020
Such an incredibly unique story! Jenny Valentine authentically captures the magic of first love in her stunning, butterfly-inducing style of writing. Jude is a wonderfully written character who really jumps off the page from the very beginning. I only wish I knew more about Novo, but I suppose that the air of mystery which surrounds him feeds into the idea of young love as enigmatic and often fleeting in nature. A wonderful read!
Profile Image for darciiii.
165 reviews1 follower
October 1, 2020
1.5 stars
I didn't like this book. For me it was way to lyrical and felt like it was trying too hard. I didn't like the writing style and couldn't connect to the characters. But I did love Henry.
May 16, 2022
DNF on page 66. I couldn’t figure out what the hell was happening. It literally gave me a migraine.
Profile Image for amelia .
46 reviews
January 21, 2023
I’m sorry but this book was so bad I don’t think I got past p5
Profile Image for Isaac.
162 reviews50 followers
July 5, 2022
This book is not what it wants to be.

It wants to be a beautiful, tragic love story with things to say about love and change. But all of it rings completely hollow.

The main reason is the instalove. And I mean instalove. As soon as Jude sets eyes on Novo he's in love with him, and Valentine thinks that's a substitute for actually developing a genuine romantic connection between the two. There is no development in their relationship, it's just a bunch of snapshots of them doing the things they always did. The only progression is their physical relationship. What could have been the most interesting scene in the book, which could have done the work to actually make us believe in this connection, is turned into an empty recounting of the events, rather than us actually getting to see them.

Jude and Novo also aren't really characters. I could tell you a couple of characteristics they possess. Jude is a nerd and hates change. Novo is lonely and supposedly kind. That's really all I can tell you. The characters not being characters is another reason the relationship doesn't work. Henry Lake is a great character though, and his story is the best portion of the book.

Finally, the last reason this relationship doesn't work is that what the book is determined to tell us is beautiful is actually extremely creepy and unsettling. I thought that would be the point, but no it isn't. Novo's power over living creatures is scary. That he freely uses it is scary. That Jude doesn't think it's wrong makes him a sociopath.

So the ending means nothing because we don't care about this relationship. It could have been an amazing story, but Valentine couldn't be bothered to do the work to actually develop this romance into something worth caring about.

The writing is occasionally brilliant, but there are also many confusing phrases that completely disrupt reading flow and honestly some of them I couldn't even tell what they meant. There's also some weird vocabulary choice. For example, I don't believe Jude as presented to the reader would use the phrase "well mad" to say he was angry. I know people who use that kind of language, Jude isn't anything like them. Also this book has a weird obsession with "bird shit." I feel like maybe it's jarring because the narration doesn't really swear except when it comes to that specific phrase? Whatever the case, it feels clunky and out of place.

Overall a thoroughly disappointing book.

Profile Image for Kirsten Paoline König.
451 reviews41 followers
December 2, 2020
Dit boek.
Je moet iets weten voordat je 'Hallo Nu' gaat lezen. Het is geen realistische, coming-of-age YA over een magische eerste liefde tussen jongen en meisje. Ook al denk je dat een beetje door de tekst op de flap (iets met liefde lalala hij is zo magisch). Oh, en Jude lijkt volgens de boekbeschrijving op Goodreads wellicht een 'hij', maar dat kun je dat uit de roman zelf absoluut nergens opmaken (Valentine maakte Jude ofwel genderneutraal, ofwel gay - beiden lhbtq+ interessant).
Jenny Valentine schreef een van de mooiste jeugdromans ooit verschenen: 'Broken Soup'. Haar 'Violet Park' en 'De Mierenkolonie' waren eveneens fijn - denk Susin Nielsen maar dan Engels - bitterzoet en met personages met rafels die je in je hart sluit. Bij 'Cassiel Roadnight' vloog het bij mij enigszins uit de bocht, 'Door het Vuur' ligt nog klaar om te lezen.
Valentines zinnen zijn fijn, prachtig, zelfs beeldschoon. Gebeeldhouwde poëzie binnen twee kaften - en dan gaat het ook nog over een allesverzengende, de tijd doen vergetende eerste liefde. Allesverzengend op z'n minst, want de boy waar Jude als een blok voor valt is een wezen dat door tijd en ruimte kan reizen als een stroom atomen. Deze Novo is 'niet van hier' - maar dan ook serieus niet. En dan komt de vaste bewoner die niet uit het nieuw gehuurde huis van Jude en moeder te krijgen is in beeld. Deze Henry is ook 'niet van hier' en er is een reden dat hij dat huis niet verlaat. Zijn boodschap plaatst de extreme chemie tussen Jude en Novo in een ander licht.
Verwacht niet wat je denkt te verwachten. Geef je over aan stromende zinnen over liefde, wandelingen vol sterrenregens en liefkozingen in bed. Denk 'Every Day' van David Levithan: over een zielspersoon die elke dag in een ander leven wakker wordt - maar niet meer wíl veranderen zodra hij de liefde vindt. Probeer dan de natuur maar eens tegen te houden.
'Hallo Nu' is een prachtboek, maar uiterst bijzonder. Een kleine roman die groots is in taal en spat van de liefde voor de liefde. Je verlangt de chemie, die allesverzengende, tijd opslorpende dus, maar begrijpt tevens het loslaten. Alles is liefde, een stroom van atomen, maar soms nét even niet op de plek waar je 'm hoopt te vinden - maar dan blijkbaar dus toch stiekem wel.
Lees zelf.
'Hallo Nu' van Jenny Valentine is vertaald door Jenny de Jonge verschenen bij Luitingh Sijthoff.
Profile Image for Esther.
192 reviews2 followers
June 9, 2021
I've seen this described everywhere as a queer romance, but I don't think that's accurate. Jude's gender is never referenced or stated, which some have taken to indicate that Jude might be gender expansive or is a guy. Exactly once, Jude uses "them" to refer to themself in the past tense, so I'll be using that pronoun for Jude, since there is no other moment where pronouns are used to refer to them - however, pronouns don't equate to gender, and there's no indication that Jude holds a gender expansive identity.

Instead, I'd argue that Jude is intentionally left without detail: we don't know what Jude looks like, or really anything else about them or their past other than their mother has had a string of failed relationships and they had a few friends in the town they left behind. To me, Jude is left entirely nondescript, not to open up possibilities that they are gender expansive, but to leave maximal room for self-insertion by the reader.

Reading this gave me the sensation of reading a mid-2000s teen romance, where an "average" girl in every way (with no further description) gets to fall in love with the guy everyone wants to date - we don't need further description because we're encouraged to fill in the blanks with ourselves and our desires.

In Hello Now, this room for self-insertion seems like it's supposed to make the moralizing at the end of the story hit closer to home with readers. At the end, Jude learns, quite explicitly, to live in the moment and stop being on their phone (how to do that? Take a colonizing self-discovery trip to India, of course!). We the reader are supposed to learn with Jude that what matters is in the real world, that we need to put down our phones in order to fall in love and find out who we really are. The space for self-insertion only seemed to serve the goal of teaching teens that they spend too much time on screens - it's entirely for internalizing a moral, not for discovering new lives and experiences.

Beyond that, though, this book is really insubstantial. Nothing actually happens, and the characters and plot are just pretty words strung together to sound poetic. There's no meat to the story or the characters, just gaps and a heavy dose of moralizing at the end.
Profile Image for Erika Janet.
59 reviews2 followers
May 17, 2021
If you don't mind, would you be able to check out my blog. I post book reviews on there and we have discussions on my Instagram - thank you!

Bottles of Books
Hello Now by Jenny Valentine is a queer love story following Jude, someone weighed down by his name, his mothers long list of failed relationships and their constant travelling about. Upon meeting handsome Novo, Jude’s life changes forever. This love story is utterly timeless and beautifully discusses second chances, and that young, innocent feeling of being in love.
I hadn’t heard much about this book, but I saw my library had it under queer books and thought, ‘why not?’ I hadn’t read a queer book in a while and it was only just under 200 pages. While I’m still not sure how I entirely feel about this book, I think I quite liked it – its simple and innocent and character-based, and leaves you with a warm feeling, as if I was 16 again and falling in love for the first time.
There were definitely some aspects which could have been better, for example, there was little explanation of what the magic and mysticism really was, which I think could have been rather interesting to read, however, hearing Jude’s perspective both before and after meeting Novo was so whimsical and beautiful that it just felt so lovely to read.
The author thoughtfully created a masterwork of a metaphor for what falling in love feels like, especially when it’s for the first time and you’re young and clueless about these things – it’s intense and passionate, you’re likely naïve and innocent, and then, often, you have to make a decision about whether this Now feels worth keeping forever. I thought this metaphor was brilliantly executed and I find it hard to imagine anyone will read this and not feel fuzzy inside – I, personally, was smiling throughout.
Overall, for a short, cosy queer novel I think it was quite good and did what it said on the tin at the end of the day. If you liked On Midnight Beach by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, then this might definitely be up your street!
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