William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him. So it's a relief when his skill on the basketball court earns him a scholarship to college, far away from his childhood home. He soon meets Julia Padavano, a spirited and ambitious young woman who surprises William with her appreciation of his quiet steadiness. With Julia comes her family; she is inseparable from her three younger sisters: Sylvie, the dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book and imagines a future different from the expected path of wife and mother; Cecelia, the family's artist; and Emeline, who patiently takes care of all of them. Happily, the Padavanos fold Julia's new boyfriend into their loving, chaotic household. But then darkness from William's past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia's carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters' unshakeable loyalty to one another.
Radiant and brilliantly crafted ... Isn't a typical sports novel ... Resists the easy satisfactions of the sentimental and never settles for simple answers to emotional predicaments faced by her characters ... Elegant ... Poignant.
Piercingly tender ... Ann Napolitano catalogues the multitudes of love and hurt that families contain, and lays bare their powers to both damage and heal. If that description echoes the poetry of Walt Whitman, whose work Napolitano quotes in her epigraph, it also reflects her own expansive literary spirit — a bracing yet restorative sensibility that managed to render cathartic...seemingly unbearable pain .. Hello Beautiful will make you weep buckets because you come to care so deeply about the characters and their fates ... Aching precision ... Napolitano’s voice is her own. Like her deeply felt characters, she compels us to contemplate the complex tapestry of family love that can, despite grief and loss, still knit us together. She helps us see ourselves — and each other — whole.
With the vibrant and close-knit Pilson neighborhood playing a supporting role, Napolitano’s latest novel investigates the deep, maddeningly frustrating, and ever-present love of family, whether tied by genetics or by choice.