BookTok Review: ‘November 9’ offers rollercoaster of emotions

Novel demonstrates how to love yourself, your flaws

Follow the tragic stories of Fallon and Ben and learn how they intertwine.


Follow the tragic stories of Fallon and Ben and learn how they intertwine.

SAMANTHA RADCLIFFE, Evergreen columnist

One afternoon, my editor-in-chief messaged me to rave about “It Ends with Us” and “November 9” by Colleen Hoover, expressing how both novels emotionally destroyed her in the span of 48 hours. 

As some of you may know, I have already read and reviewed “It Ends with Us” – I have also reviewed “Ugly Love” – so I am well aware of Hoover’s ability to move readers to tears. And since I was in the mood to cry, I offer you yet another BookTok Review on CoHo novels.

“November 9” is an emotionally stirring novel, richly replete with heart-stopping moments intricately interwoven among the backstories of characters that are poignant enough to leave the reader reeling in shock.

On Nov. 9, the protagonist, Fallon O’Neill, is burned in a fire at her father’s house, leaving her with fourthdegree burns and permanent scarring on the left side of her body. As a result, she not only loses her self-confidence but also ends her promising career as a television actress. 

Two years later, Fallon still holds much resentment toward her father, who she remembers starting the fire and leaving her asleep while the house went up in flames. When an argument between them starts to escalate at a local diner, aspiring novelist Ben Kessler impulsively sits next to Fallon and defends her against her sorry excuse for a father.

The two characters instantly feel a connection – one which all readers can feel – and decide to spend the rest of the day together before Fallon leaves for New York to pursue a career as a stage actress on Broadway. 

As many bibliophiles may know, there is a popular phenomenon on BookTok where readers fall in love with fictional male characters written by women. In truth, I thought that I was exempt from experiencing such feelings.

Oh, boy, I was wrong.

I fell in love with Ben almost instantly. He said and did all the right things that could make any girl swoon. 

For example, for those of you who have read the novel, the closet scene made my heart run a marathon and my mind overcome with emotion. He also loves reading, which is a major plus for an avid reader such as myself.

When Fallon and Ben’s time together soon comes to a close, they agree to meet on the same day – Nov. 9 – for the next five years to hold one another accountable for their goals, all without communicating with each other between every meeting.

I was initially turned off by the concept of the novel, which is why it took me so long to read it; however, Hoover delivered it in such a way that I found myself eagerly turning the page and wanting to see more interactions between Fallon and Ben.

In other words, Hoover captured my heart with their relationship. 

Despite only spending time together for 28 hours, they continue to support each other in ways that I do not often see depicted in other young-adult romance novels. For example, Ben gradually builds Fallon’s self-confidence by ensuring that she sees herself as the beautiful woman she truly is. 

And, of course, like all other CoHo novels, there is a twist at the end that took many readers by surprise. 

“It took four years for me to fall in love with him. It only took one page to stop,” Hoover wrote to illustrate Fallon’s inner dialogue upon learning the tragic truth about Ben.

Please, if you have about four or five hours in your busy schedule to read this novel, do it! I am confident that you will enjoy reading about Fallon and Ben’s heart-wrenching stories that will surely leave you in a state of emotional turmoil.