Book review: Mangum's new novel 'After Hello' an adventure in New York City

Published: Saturday, Sept. 15 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

"AFTER HELLO," by Lisa Mangum, Shadow Mountain, $17.99, 272 pages (f) (ages 14 and up)

Lisa Mangum's new novel "After Hello" tells of two teenagers' chance encounter in busy, bustling New York City, and the next 24 hours sends them on an adventure through the city that leads to self-discovery for both of them.

Sara is in the city for the first time and takes her camera with her in search of moments to capture with photos as the 17-year-old's busy father is in meetings to finalize the sale of his company.

Sam graduated early and moved to the city to stay with his brother and has a knack for finding things that others may not be able to or need.

Sara spies Sam through her camera lens and intrigued, follows him. Sam sees that he is being tailed and tries to lose her. After their initial awkward and testy first introductions, they end up on a request to find a unique piece of art for a demanding movie star and socialite that Sara must hand over by the end of the day or she will fire Sam's brother who works for the star.

Relying on his skills to find and trade, Sam works his contacts, each with their own perspective, and Sara is drawn into the adventure along with getting a chance to see the city, especially when her father has to cancel on their plans together. Sam and Sara form an unlikely partnership.

Each chapter alternates perspectives between Sam and Sara through 24 hours as they race to fulfill the request.

Both Sara and Sam have emotional baggage that weighs them down as they learn about each other, about letting go and that they can be stronger for it.

Don't expect a fantasy like Mangum's "Hourglass Door" trilogy, as this young adult novel is set solidly in the present day within the space of a day along with landmarks like Times Square, Central Park and St. John the Divine Cathedral.

"After Hello" takes the reader on a roller coaster of adventures and emotions with a cast of characters that are realistic and relatable. Sara and Sam are definitely worth rooting for as they attempt to accomplish a near-impossible task and develop a friendship and a bit of romance along the way.

It's free of swearing, violence or sexual innuendos that is welcome in the young adult genre.

"After Hello" will also give a different perspective on saying goodbye to new friends and sugar packets.

Email: rappleye@desnews.com

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