November 9 is a story by Colleen Hoover. This isn’t a book review but an actual summary of what happens in the story so keep in mind there will be spoilers ahead. November 9: A Novel is a standalone novel, not a part of a series. It’s a story about a writer and his unexpected muse.
- Book Title: November 9: A Novel
- Author: Colleen Hoover
- Publication Date: November 10, 2015
- Category: Contemporary Romance
- Print Length: 314 Pages
Fallon meets her dad on November 9th, to announce her decision to leave for New York and try to have an acting career but he doesn’t seem to be excited for her. Instead, he reminds her that after the big scars she got all over her half body 2 years ago on that day, her acting career was over and that she shouldn’t have unrealistic dreams. Then a stranger enters their conversation pretending to be Ben – Fallon’s boyfriend when he hears how her dad treats her, and he stands up for her making her father leave.
Fallon and Ben are left alone when she starts asking him why he supported her and while they start to get to know each other they both feel a good chemistry between them. Fallon gets to know that Ben is a writer and also 18 like her, and Ben gets to follow her home and help her and her roommate pack her stuff for New York.
Going back home Fallon’s roommate is surprised to meet Ben as Fallon’s boyfriend since she had never seen or heard of him. Ben actually helps Fallon with her stuff and then calls a good restaurant to make a reservation for dinner before he asks her to wear a dress of hers that he liked. At first, Fallon does not agree because it is showing a lot of her skin that is scared now but Ben convinces her by leaning in to kiss her and asking her to dress her up in that dress so people can see how good she looks and how confident she is. When he sees her in the dress he was convinced she was going to look amazing, he tries to explain to her that she doesn’t have to be ashamed of her scars and that people only look to the other side because they can feel that she feels ashamed.
Ben leaves to get ready for dinner and they agree to meet again at her place at 6, but Ben shows up 40 minutes earlier because he doesn’t want to waste any minute with her since she is leaving that night. Since Fallon is not ready yet, Ben is waiting for her to have a shower and dress up, and then when they have some time left before the dinner reservation they lay on the bed and talk about their lives, their six-hour-long “relationship” and their first kiss that wasn’t book-worthy. When Ben asks Fallon to exchange numbers she doesn’t want to and explains to him that this will make them talk all the time, have a distant relationship, and they won’t be as focused on their dreams as they should be. She has grown up to her mother’s words that every person is finding out himself from the age of 16 until 23, so she has her own rule to not fall in love before she is 23 and knows who she is and what she is looking for in life. Ben touches her scars asking her if it is okay, but every time he looks at her he is making a grimace that makes her feel uncomfortable. He explains that it is really difficult for him to not kiss her or do everything he wants to do because she is leaving, and this is why he looks like he is in pain when he looks at her. He wants to respect her decision to not start a relationship and follow her dreams to have a career.
A little bit later Ben and Fallon wake up and see that they have been sleeping for 2 hours and now there’s no time to go to dinner. He takes her to the airport and they make an agreement to meet for one day every year on this date until they are 23. They also agree to not talk while the year is passing, block each other on social media so they are not tempted, and set up rules as Fallon has to date five guys during that year and Ben has to start writing a romance novel about their weird relationship.
Leaving her at the airport with a simple goodbye makes Fallon think something went wrong. But not long after that Ben appears in the crowd running in slow motion while he is yelling at her to not go making everyone including Fallon laugh. Once he reaches her, he kisses her goodbye and they agree that this was a book-worthy kiss.
On the second November 9th, Fallon is late on their date making Ben have second thoughts about her and realizing that their agreement might have been something fun for the moment but she is not going to show up. But after a while, they meet up and she is exactly as he left her.
Ben takes Fallon to his house where she gets to meet all of his brothers and Jordyn – his soon-to-be sister-in-law. Kyle, the groom to be, is the only one from the family that has a strange reaction when he sees Fallon and Ben together for the first time. Fallon tries to convince herself that it’s about some of their own issues and that has nothing to do with her, even when she sees Kyle and Ben having an intense fight in the other room.
The night ends when Ben takes her to the airport but after she is on the plane he is surprising her there not to leave with her as she wished, but to give her this year’s list of things he wants her to do, and one of them is to talk with her dad since Ben feels he is one of the main reasons they haven’t talked since the day he pretended to be Fallon’s boyfriend.
After Ben is late for their meeting in a restaurant in New York in the third year, he calls her through the restaurant’s phone to inform her that he is not late but not going at all because his brother Kyle had had an accident and had just died. Fallon feels so bad about Ben and his family, and about the fact that they have to spend another full year apart without seeing each other, so she decides to take a flight and be there for him on that tough day.
When they meet Ben finally breaks and Fallon tries to calm him down hugging him tightly. Later that night they talk about Ben’s family and they feel closer to each other. They end up having sex for the first time and after that, they say their first I love you. Ben says to Fallon that now that his brother is dead he has no reason to stay in this house anymore and he can move to New York with her. Happy and in love they fall asleep but after a while, Fallon gets up for a glass of water and finds Jordyn in the kitchen. She seems devastated by her husband’s death and she is also 6 months pregnant. Jordyn opens her heart to Fallon and among others, she says that she doesn’t want to go back to her mother’s house and that this is the only house she knows as her home since she has spent so many years in it. Fallon goes back to Ben and tells him that he has to stay there for Jordyn and the baby. They have a fight because Ben wants to follow her to New York but Fallon knows that the right thing to do is to stay back and be there for his sister-in-law and the baby she is going to have soon.
Another year passes and Fallon goes to see Ben and to announce to him that she moved back so they can be together. He surprises her though showing up with his baby nephew and accidentally tells her that he has a relationship with his dead brother’s wife. He says he never meant to hide it from her but he wanted her to learn it in a better way. Fallon doesn’t tell Ben that she has moved back and refuses to see him because she knows Ben has feelings for her that will ruin his family. She leaves him feeling responsible for how things turned out since she was the one that left him last year.
For a year Ben doesn’t know that Fallon is living there again but on their day he seeks out her roommate to ask her where will they be. Then he shows up in the club Fallon was dragged to go with some friends to have fun and meet a guy. Ben pretends to be a student that has to ask random people some questions about an essay and by his questions, he tries to prove to Fallon that the guy she went on a date isn’t right for her. Fallon and Ben meet outside and have a fight about all that but end up kissing and leaving for his place.
The next morning Fallon wakes up next to Ben feeling in love more than ever after the late-night talk and promises they made to each other. She gets up to make coffee while Ben is still sleeping but she accidentally finds the manuscript of the book he was supposed to write about their story. She reads the first couple of pages out of curiosity and she is in shock when she realizes Ben’s book begins with his story about how he started the fire that burned her half body, 2 years before they met. Ben wakes up and finds Fallon reading but she immediately shows him that she is afraid of him and she wants to leave.
A full year passes in which they haven’t seen each other, and neither have they tried. On the last November 9th of the story, Fallon stays home promising herself she won’t get out ever again on that day but she finds a box outside her door along with her mother who convinces her to read Ben’s book that was in the box and she already read a lot of it.
Fallon starts reading even though she is convinced there is nothing that can make her forgive Ben for not telling her all those years that he was the one responsible for the fire and that he felt so guilty that he pretended to like her. In the book, Ben talks about the day that he found his mother after her suicide back when he was 16. He was so angry at his mother for leaving him and his brothers alone for what seemed to be a man that broke her heart. He found the man and followed him back home, getting more and more frustrated about how this man seemed to not even know or care about Ben’s mother’s death. This man was Fallon’s father. And when he entered his house Ben walked to his car and set it on fire not even thinking that someone else could get hurt. Later, when he and his brother Kyle heard on the news that a girl was inside the house and she is in very bad condition and going to the hospital, Kyle is trying to protect Ben and his future making him promise that he won’t ever say that he was the one that started that fire and won’t ever go near that family. But after 2 years Ben accidentally saw Fallon’s dad in a restaurant and that was the day he met Fallon.
Ben has also written that this is the only copy of the book so Fallon can do whatever she wants with it, but he promises her that all the rest that she already knows and had lived with him were true feelings, words, and promises.
In the end, Fallon goes to see Ben and tells him that she is not the one that has to forgive him for what he did. She understands what he did because of the loss of his mother the same day and they both try to forget that day and live together many happy moments to make the bad ones fade away.
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in Los Angeles together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?