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Hello, Sunshine


Hello, Sunshine

Let me start off by saying that this book has taught me a big thing about reading: the timing of when you read a book matters.

Now, I don’t mean to say that what time of day you read matters (although I can say from experience that the thrill factor of any book increases by a million when you’re 12 and reading it at 3 AM on a school night and hoping your parents don’t find you and kill you). What I’ve found is that the time in your life you read a book matters. For example, many people speak of how fond they are of Harry Potter because they grew up with the characters: their parents read the books to them, they were the same age as the main characters throughout the series and many more reasons.

Now compare that to someone who read Harry Potter in their later years. I am one of those people. I have a decidedly less significant connection to the world and to the characters because I never grew up with them. It was not the first fantasy book I read and it was not the book that made me love to read. I loved the books and fell in love with the characters; however, the connection I have with it is much different than my friends who read the books earlier.

"HELLO SUNSHINE by Leila Howland was the perfect book for me to read at this point in my life....I loved Becca because while her life was a mix of confusion and incredulity, there were still good moments."

All of this is to say that HELLO SUNSHINE by Leila Howland was the perfect book for me to read at this point in my life. I have just finished high school and will be starting college in the fall. I feel like I am in a kind of limbo. I am thinking about high school with a pseudo fondness and am thinking about college with a terrified excitement. I’m no longer a high school student so I have no summer assignments for the classes I’m taking next year but I’m not yet a college student so I have no idea what I should do to prepare for classes to start. It’s a weird feeling because I have absolutely no idea what to do and what to expect. While my summers between high school years used to consist of tons of activities to boost up my resume, this summer has been decidedly quieter.

Although my quiet summer filled with occasional anxiety is drastically different than Becca’s --- the protagonist of HELLO SUNSHINE --- I connected with Becca a lot. Her solo move to LA to possibly jump start an acting career because she got rejected from all the colleges she applied to felt very real to me at this point in my life. She does not know what the future holds for her, and like me, is completely unsure of how our lives will change in the next six months --- the only thing we know is that it will. She’s supposedly independent but still makes horrible financial and adulting decisions (which I am also sure to do at some point). One of her strategies in dealing with the world is by essentially ignoring all the parts she does not like...which, as much as I hate to admit it, is also something I tend to do. I loved Becca because while her life was a mix of confusion and incredulity, there were still good moments. It showed me that you can have no idea what you’re doing but still be okay and still survive. That is a message that I and many other teens really need this summer as waves of panic wash over us about our lives.

I do have to say that I was a little disappointed in Raj’s character. He had so much potential to be this dynamic character with an amazing backstory that would make this story shine. However, he only popped in once in a while and there was really nothing interesting that happened to him. I understand that Marisol is supposed to be the main supporting character in this book but I see so much potential that wasn’t explored in Raj. But that potential will definitely be explored more in one of my sleepless nights.

More than anything, I wish this book had tied up some of the plotlines a bit better. I was unsatisfied with how everything ended. What happens to the videos on YouTube? How does Becca manage to support herself financially after the events of this book? Who exactly is Vivian and why should we care about her at all? There were a lot of interesting concepts that were started but never finished. It was only frustrating for the fact that none of it was wrapped up.

I would recommend this book to anyone who feels like they are lost in their own world. It makes you feel like there is at least one other person out there who feels the same (even though she is fictional).

Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board Member on July 28, 2017

Hello, Sunshine
by Leila Howland

  • Publication Date: July 10, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Young Adult 14+
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 1484728505
  • ISBN-13: 9781484728505