In 1985 eighteen-year-old Jude Hastings loses her deaf twin sister to a brain aneurysm. A year later her longtime boyfriend dumps her for taking too long to grieve. Jude’s relationship with her parents is more volatile than ever because she’s the child who lived. The next four years see Jude on a path of destruction, leaving a trail of alcohol-induced nights and a laundry list of nameless men in her wake. Love simply doesn’t exist in her world. Until she meets Shea Sullivan, an unreachable four-year-old deaf boy who steals her heart when she is hired to be his full-time nanny, based solely on her sign language skills. Things on the surface are not as they seem, as Jude quickly learns that Shea is a very troubled little boy with a history of violent behavior, uncontrollable outbursts and a cold, overbearing and curmudgeonly father. There’s no denying the connection Jude shares with Shea, but is it enough to keep her working in his unbearable father’s home? “Hey, Jude” is the story of a young woman and a child who desperately need each other, with outside circumstances fighting against them at every turn. It’s a story that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you question everything you know about connections of the spirit.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 6 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.25 out of 10
Plot/Idea: Hey Jude is a moving story of loss and redemption. Nevertheless, the story's setup verges on the predictable, and because of that, the ending feels more easy to guess than not. The narrative is well-paced, but Jude's arc tends toward the formulaic rather than the unexpected.
Prose: Despite the fresh portrayal of Deaf voices, Hey Jude employs a number of clichés, and despite Stone's attempts to subvert it, the tactic continues throughout the story. Creative dialogue tags add some variation, but they also become overpowering as the novel progresses.
Originality: The novel's foundational concept is admirable—the young boy, Shea, taking the place of what Jude lost—but Stone takes too many obvious turns to preserve the book's originality. Portraying Deaf voices is a much-needed representation and heightens the story.
Character Development/Execution: Stone's characters possess form and definite personalities, but they aren't individualized enough to deeply connect with readers and elicit their full sympathy.
Date Submitted: August 19, 2022