Hello (From Here) is a heartfelt, witty, and thought-provoking YA love story about two teens who fall for each other while forced apart during quarantine, written by two New York Times bestselling authors, and for fans of Five Feet Apart, Anna and the French Kiss, and My Life Next Door.
Speaking of bestselling authors, we had some questions for Chandler and Wesley about the new book. So, here are 5 things they want you to know about Hello (From Here)!
Question: What is Hello (From Here) about?
Wesley: Our novel follows Max and Jonah, who meet at a grocery store just as California is going into lockdown. It looks at those early days in quarantine, and adds falling in love to the mess!
Question: How did a love story set during the early days of quarantine come to be?!
Wesley: That’s a good question! Doesn’t actually scream “romance”, does it? We wrote a love story because we all connect on love stories. And despite the awful things that were and are going on, there were still people falling in love, there were still teens going through this mutual, strange shared experience where their proms are cancelled, their friends are gone. This isolating experience. So, we thought, “what’s the great unifying factor? A love story!” And at its core, Hello (From Here) is a love story.
Question: What was it like to co-write a story so far apart?
Chandler: “Honestly, I was really nervous about writing a book with Wes. Not just because of the distance, but because we’d never met in real life! So, I didn’t know what it was gonna be like. But honestly, it was like doing a group project at school…but everyone actually contributes equally. It was such a nice surprise how smoothly it all went. The fun part was that because of the distance, I would wake up every other morning and there would be a new chapter in my inbox that I would get to read. And often I would be surprised about where Wes had ended the story, and that would be my kickoff for what I was supposed to write that day. So we were just volleying it back and forth and surprising each other with what each of our characters would be up to the next day!”
Question: What would you say is the most important thing you learned in quarantine?
Wesley: For me, it was the importance of a phone call. I think with social media, it’s so easy to just assume we’re connected, but the tangible act of picking up the phone and calling somebody you haven’t seen in a while, in my case, my mom and dad–I could tell that made a difference for them, and it made a huge difference for me. So sometimes even though it feels like we’re connecting on Facebook and these types of things, picking up the phone or going to see someone if you can, makes such a difference. So for me, it was a big reminder to make that part of my routine.
Question: What do you hope readers take away from Hello (From Here)?
Chandler: “Over time as I’ve developed as both a reader and a writer, I’ve found I am someone who likes to process the world I’m living in through words. That’s how I make sense of things: by writing through what I’m living through right now. So, I hope readers feel like this book reflects their world that they’ve been living in for the past year and a half during the pandemic. It’s a book about human connection, and I hope it’s also a book that gives people permission to feel their feelings, because I want it to be okay for people to feel sad about even the inconsequential lost moments that have been stolen by this pandemic. And I want it also to be okay to feel joy, to recognize the joy they’ve found during this time, despite the heavy circumstances. So, that’s what I hope readers take away.”
Wesley: “I also wanted to shine a light on anxiety sufferers in the pandemic. That’s why Jonah, my character in this book who I wrote, suffers with an anxiety disorder. I wanted to show what it looked like in the early days of the pandemic when all of the symptoms that we’ve always been afraid of were suddenly mirrored in a very real way by a pandemic, and all your secret fears were being broadcast to you on a daily basis. For anxiety sufferers, this was a massively difficult time and set a lot of us back in our recoveries, in our healing. So I wanted to write a story that talked about that, that shined a light on that, and that maybe allowed anxiety sufferers to connect with Jonah, even as he falls in love with Max. But also to say, “Hey, I went through that too! That was my experience with anxiety, and it kind of feels good to know I’m not alone, and we’re all gonna work through this together.”
Hello (From Here) is on shelves now! Get your copy here