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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

Excellent choice

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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.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Hello Stranger.
Hello Stranger


The first person I called after I found out I’d placed in the North American Portrait Society’s huge career-making yearly contest was my dad.

Which is weird. Because I never called my dad.

Not voluntarily, anyway.

Sure, I called on birthdays or Father’s Day or New Year’s—hoping to get lucky and miss him so I could leave a singsongy message like “So sorry to miss you,” get the credit, and be done.

But I called only out of obligation. Never for fun. Never, ever just to talk. And never—god forbid—to share things.

My goal was always not to share things with my father. How broke I was. How I was still—endlessly—failing in my chosen career. How I’d given up on yet another relationship and moved into my not-fit-for-human-habitation art studio because I couldn’t afford a place of my own.

That was all need-to-know information.

And he definitely didn’t need to know.

It gave me some structure, in a way—crafting ongoing fake success stories about myself for him and my evil stepmother, Lucinda. I was always “doing great.” Or “crazy busy.” Or “thriving so much.”

I didn’t actively make things up. I just worked devotedly to obscure the truth.

The truth was, I’d defied all my dad’s instructions eight years before, dropping out of premed and switching my college major to Fine Arts.

“Fine Arts?” my father had said, like he’d never heard the term before. “How exactly are you supposed to make a living with that?”

I gave him a little shrug. “I’m just going to . . . be an artist.”

Wow, those words did not land well.

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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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Member ratings (17,556)

  • Jan F.

    Nampa, ID

    There’s so much to love about this book! ❤️ I picked it up and couldn’t put it down…finished it in 3 days! Such an endearing story. Will be seeking out Katherine’s other books and movies. ❤️❤️❤️

  • Cait H.

    Saint Louis, MO

    The cutest rom-com with twists and turns. Such an easy read that demanded to not be put down. “Isn’t it lucky when we’re drawn to people who can teach us things we need to learn?” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Monica E.

    Evans, GA

    As someone who had my vision and now has low-vision with or without glasses, this story was so special. They say representation matters, and I didn’t know this was a character I needed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Carey O.

    Lodi, OH

    I LOVED this book! I loved how Sadie was so resilient and had such kindness in her heart, despite all the heartache she’s been thru. This one made my heart smile in all the best ways ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Shannon S.

    Millstadt, IL

    This book. Gah!! I loved every single part of it! Katherine Center pulls you in from page one and makes you fall in love with these characters. I’ll be in a book hangover for a bit! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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