Thursday, January 18, 2024

Review - Hello Stranger

Title:   Hello Stranger
Author:  Katherine Center
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
Genre:   Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC 
No. of Pages:   332
Date of Publication:  July 11, 2023
My Rating:   5 Stars


Love isn’t blind, it’s just a little blurry.

Sadie Montgomery never saw what was coming . . . Literally! One minute she’s celebrating the biggest achievement of her life—placing as a finalist in the North American Portrait Society competition—the next, she’s lying in a hospital bed diagnosed with a “probably temporary” condition known as face blindness. She can see, but every face she looks at is now a jumbled puzzle of disconnected features. Imagine trying to read a book upside down and in another language. This is Sadie’s new reality with every face she sees.

But, as she struggles to cope, hang on to her artistic dream, work through major family issues, and take care of her beloved dog, Peanut, she falls into—love? Lust? A temporary obsession to distract from the real problems in her life?—with not one man but two very different ones. The timing couldn’t be worse.

If only her life were a little more in focus, Sadie might be able to find her way. But perceiving anything clearly right now seems impossible. Even though there are things we can only find when we aren’t looking. And there are people who show up when we least expect them. And there are always, always other ways of seeing.


Every face, including that of her own, is unrecognizable. Like a pile of mixed-up puzzle pieces. Or like pickup sticks. Sadie has "acquired apperceptive prosopagnosia...face blindness." How did this happen? One day Sadie experienced what was called a nonconvulsive seizure. Because of this event, Emma underwent several tests and it was determined that she had a malformed blood vessel in her brain. And this required brain surgery.

When Sadie awoke, she was in turmoil. She was utterly confused. Her friend Sue came to visit. At least it sounded like Sue. But Sadie could only recognize one feature at a time, like the eyes, nose, etc., but she could not put the composite of those features together to form a recognizable face. This does not bode well for someone who has a career as a portrait artist. 

Meanwhile, Sadie has a double crush - that of her veterinarian and that of her neighbor Joe. She decides to put those feelings for her vet aside and spends time with Joe, working on a portrait without actually being able to see his face. Sadie's face problems continues to cause issues, but she holds out the hope that once she fully heals, her ability to recognize faces will return.

Sadie has other issues - one being her evil stepsister. It seems she just cannot get away from her. Dealing with Parker, all while slowly falling for Joe gives this story plenty of form. Katherine Center is a fabulous writer. and she did a great job with Hello Stranger. 

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Bestselling Author Katherine Center wrote her first novel in the sixth grade (fan fiction about Duran Duran) and got hooked. From then on, she was doomed to want to be a writer—obsessively working on poems, essays, and stories, as well as memorizing lyrics, keeping countless journals, and reading constantly.

She won a creative writing scholarship in high school, and then went on to major in creative writing at Vassar College, where she won the Vassar College Fiction Prize. At 22, she won a fellowship to the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program and moved home to Texas with plans to become Jane Austen ASAP.

Didn’t happen quite that way. Of course. Instead, she began a decade of struggling, agonizing, and questioning the meaning of life before finally finding a fairy-godmother-like agent and getting a dream-come-true book deal for her debut novel, The Bright Side of Disaster.
A total happy ending. And also, just the beginning. 

No comments:

Post a Comment