I was absolutely thrilled when I received an advanced reader copy of Hello, Sunshine from Disney-Hyperion because I’ve loved all of their young adult novels that I’ve read in the past. Hello, Sunshine did not disappoint. While this was the first book by Leila Howland that I’ve read, I can assure you that it will not be my last.
The synopsis of this book intrigued me right away. An eighteen year old prep school graduate finds herself doing the walk of shame through her school hallways and pretty much all over town when she is not accepted into any of the colleges she’s applied to. So she decides to do the next best thing and most logical thing in her eyes – move to L.A. to become an actress. What could go wrong?
I’m not sure if it’s because this is a young adult book, but for some reason, I was surprised by how much I got into this story. The writing was excellent! I was so drawn into the story that when I turned the last page I actually said out loud, “No, don’t be over!” It wasn’t because the story ended with a cliffhanger or anything but because I had become attached to these characters and didn’t want their stories to end.
I loved the main character, Becca, right away! She was very relatable, especially for the target audience of young adult. When you’re eighteen, you feel invincible, and all you want to think about is chasing your dream. That was a wonderful feeling to revisit, and I absolutely loved the dreamer spirit that Howland conveys through Becca and her two friends, Raj and Marisol.
I also appreciated the underlying theme of friendship. One of the things on Becca’s “to do” list after moving to L.A. was to make a friend or two. Life is hard, no matter what age you are, and friends are important to have. Even when we want to make it “on our own,” we can still get lonely, and friends can be lifelines just by being there. I loved how Howland wove the importance of friendship into Becca’s story of independence.
Becca’s mom was another character I enjoyed. She was just the right mixture of supportive and concerned. I also appreciated the accuracy of L.A. and the difficulties and ups and downs of trying to break your way into Hollywood. I do want to mention that just because this book was published by Disney does not make it a children’s book. It is in the Young Adult genre for a reason – there is some adult language used throughout the book and parents who are considering this read for their pre-teens or teens may consider reading it themselves first.
All in all, I thought it was a great read, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult novels.
Hello, Sunshine releases on July 11, 2017!
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“…I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the glass. I can’t believe how myself I look. It’s like my insides and my outsides are finally aligned.”– Hello, Sunshine
Up Next: My review of Sisters One, Two, Three, a new novel from Nancy Star. Subscribe to the blog or sign up with your email here so you don’t miss out!