I guess you know me and my love for sweet contemporary stories, by now. Thing is, I almost read so much of these that sometimes, it’s hard to be impressed by a story, a story where the characters stand out, and/or the plot takes you someplace you thought you never would. It’s not too surprising or mind-boggling I guess, since no one’s going to turn into a zombie or something, but still. Sometimes you get a book that hits you right in the feels, and for some reason I do know well, I felt like this one would. And it did, it really did.
THE BITTERSWEET FEELING OF IT ALL
This story is about two people getting ready to part. To break up, to say goodbye to a massive part of their lives together. Shared car rides and laughs, first times, fights and make-ups, making the other family as part as your own. It’s about saying goodbye to the first love, the one that’s big and feels like it can overcome mountains, the one that feels so strong, yet so fragile all at once. Clare and Aiden are going to college the day after this story takes place, they will be miles and miles apart, and for Clare, reason is telling her to cut things off this Aiden. Because why would they go on, with distance, the struggle seems just too big, especially since they are on the verge of changing their lives. If you’ve already gone to college and left home, or if you’re about to, I think this book can be very, very relatable, no matter if you are in a relationship at the time, or not. Because it’s not only about leaving a love behind, it’s about going away from everything you’ve always known, parting from friends, family. This story perfectly grasps, with the characters, that bittersweet feeling when you’re about to leave, and when you’re feeling like you’re on the verge of deciding the rest of your life.
CHARACTERS WITH THEIR OWN STRUGGLES
As in any contemporary you might read, characters are obviously the most important part of the story, more than the plot. Because here, it all happens in the matter of one night, from car rides to crazy fights, from laughs to tears, from last times to last goodbyes. There is nothing astounding about the plot, this story is mostly about character-growth, and realizations about your old and new life to come. The main character, Clare, might take some time to grow on you: thorough the whole book, she is a little self-centered. I couldn’t help but find this a bit realistic, given everything that was going to happen, but I get why it might bother some people. On the other hand, next to her, we are given a nice cast of various characters, all with their desires, wants and needs, and own struggles just as well. Not just with the main love interest, but also with close friends, friends you want to root for and understand. Everyone has their own struggles about leaving for college, whether they’re going far away, where they wanted to in the first place, or need to settle for their second, third choice, or the option they didn’t even want to think about.
A COUPLE TO ROOT FOR.
The most important part of this story obviously is the love story. I’m used to seeing the relationship beginning and growing in the story, but here, the relationship is already there. As we read, we get to know how it all began, how it kept on going, and how they are right now. It was a nice change, for once, and definitely a different way to make you root for the couple, knowing everything as the story goes on. They might be different, but as you read, you understand why they’re together, what makes them so good, and as we learn the struggles everyone is facing with going away, also why they perfectly echo each other. Also, obviously, no one wants them to break up by that point because you’ve slowly fallen in love with them. At least, I did.
I guess for anyone loving contemporary, that book might be a solid 4 stars, or maybe 3 if you’re not too into Clare’s self-centered ways, at times. But if you’re feeling a bit like me, or I guess maybe because this book kind of hit close to home for so many different reasons, you might end up reading this in almost one day, turning the pages and willing for them to be okay, all of them to stay together and just life to turn out okay. But I guess “sometimes the hardest things are the one most worth doing”, and with a little bit of faith that everything will turn out okay, it will, eventually. A beautiful contemporary.
Final rating: All the feels. IT’S A HURRICANE!
Did you read Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it? Share your thoughts in comments!
Jennifer E. Smith, Hello, Goodbye, And Everything in Between, Published by Poppy, September 1st 2015.
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have only one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?
Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.