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Hello Stranger by Katherine Center

Hello Stranger

4peat author

This is Katherine Center's 4th book with BOTM — an impressive feat!

by Katherine Center
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Quick take

After an accident, a struggling artist realizes it’s hard to face your issues when you literally can’t recognize faces.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Happy


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LOL


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LoveTriangle

    Love triangle

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Underdog



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.

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Content warning

This book contains mentions of suicide.

Why I love it

Some writers simply have a Midas touch—everything they write becomes the finest of literary gold. For me, Katherine Center is one of those writers. She writes some of the most winning and emotionally nuanced rom-coms I’ve ever read. Hello Stranger, her latest novel, is no exception.

This story belongs to Sadie Montgomery, a struggling artist and beautiful mess of a human. When we first meet, Sadie has just experienced a potential career breakthrough, qualifying as a finalist in the prestigious North American Portrait Society competition. But just as quickly as she receives this exciting news, she finds herself unexpectedly in the hospital diagnosed with face blindness. This might present challenges in the best of circumstances, but for an artist who needs to make some masterful portraiture . . . well that’s a whole other can of worms. As Sadie acclimates to her new hopefully temporary condition, art isn’t the only thing on her mind either. She has a rocky relationship with her family, who are less than supportive of her artistic aspirations, and slowly finds herself embroiled in a love triangle that may just force her to face her true desires.

Hello Stranger has something for everyone, including a charming dog named Peanut, and it is the kind of book you will find yourself consuming in delightful, rushed gulps. If you are looking for a hopeful read to put some pep in your step this summer, look no further. Swooning guaranteed!

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