cover image Hello Beautiful

Hello Beautiful

Ann Napolitano. Dial, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-24373-2

Napolitano (Dear Edward) explores the meaning of love and family with this striking story of four Chicago sisters and the young man who enters their lives. William Waters, a basketball player from outside Boston, enrolls at Northwestern in 1978 on an athletic scholarship. After he starts dating fellow student Julia Padavano, he’s embraced by Julia’s three younger sisters—Sylvie, a romantic searching for a great love affair; Cecelia, an aspiring artist; and Cecelia’s earnest and quiet twin, Emeline—and is delighted to find a loving and loud family so different from his own, his parents having grown taciturn after his older sister’s death years before. William and Julia marry, while the unmarried Cecelia gets pregnant at 17, Sylvie presses on with a job at a library, and Emeline works at a daycare where she fosters a crush on a coworker. After one character attempts suicide, the bonds of the expanding family are tested, and the Padavano women reexamine the limits of how much they’re willing to sacrifice. The author breathes great life into her characters, and brings insight into their quiet moments as they gradually come into their own. This will move readers. Agent: Julie Barer, Book Group. (Mar.)