Review: Goodbye, Perfect, Sara Barnard

There are no spoilers in this review.

I discovered Sara Barnard with A Quiet Kind of Thunder early this year (and on Kathy’s recommendation, shout out to her!) and I fell in love with it. I also knew, right there and then, that I had to read everything the author would write. Goodbye, Perfect was my second book by the author and it did not disappoint!



Goodbye, Perfect is one of these quiet contemporaries that deserves its place in the spotlight, because while it might not be the most action-filled or the most jaw-dropping kind of book, it is still one of these stories that stay with you for a little while, just like A Quiet Kind of Thunder. The number one thing I admire about Sara Barnard, is that she surely knows how to write young adult books that feel, well, young, in a way. In its characters, the way they talk, act, make mistakes, grow from them and so on.

In Goodbye, Perfect, we follow the main character Eden and, upon her best friends’ disappearance, she makes a whole lot of mistakes and questionable decisions. I couldn’t say that I approved of every single thing she did, yet she felt like a real teenager and hats off for that. I’m all for good, flawed characters like these in my stories. Also interesting to note, the main character is dyslexic and it was good to see representation for that in the book.



One thing I adored about this book is that it focuses on friendships. More often than not, we get romance front and center of it all and there, we got to see a best friend relationship in all of its complexities and ups and downs and break-ups and made-ups and just so, so many moments defining, changing friendships. It also mentioned the lengths you’d go to for a friend. This was, most likely, my favorite part of the book.

One thing I appreciated here and that we rarely see, is the fact that this story starts and ends with our main character being in a healthy teenager relationship with an adorable boy – yes, the same from beginning to end. I loved seeing how they cared for each other, valued each other and took their time with each other, too. They recognize their flaws and jump through hoops, but their relationship felt realistic and such a nice addition to the story.

Our main character in Goodbye Perfect, Eden, is a foster child and I really enjoyed seeing that part of the story, too, how she found herself fitting in with her sister in her foster family, how supportive her foster parents were. As the story goes on, we also get to see her relationship with her foster sister, Valerie, grow and change and I appreciated the bonding and seeing them together SO much. I’m all for a good sister relationship.



If, for me, this book wasn’t as much as a hit as A Quiet Kind of Thunder, I still appreciated so, very much. I loved the focus on friendships, the positive, healthy relationship, the growing, complex family relationships just as well and most of it all, the realistic-ness of it all. I’m definitely reading all of Sara Barnard’s books as soon as I can, because it’s official, I really, really like her stories.

Final rating:Β  4 drops!

The biggest thanks to Simon & Schuster for approving me for an e-ARC of this book through Edelweiss. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

Trigger warnings: slut-shaming, panic attacks (mentioned). This book deals with a teacher/student relationship.


Sara Barnard, Goodbye, Perfect, Β Published by Simon & Schuster, January 29th, 2019 (US edition).

Note that this is a review of the US edition. The book has already been released in the UK on February 8th, 2018 by MacMillan Children’s Books.


Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their final exams. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that Bonnie’s boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr. Cohn.

Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents, and her own growing doubts.

As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend, and herself. In this touching and insightful novel, bestselling author Sara Barnard explores just what can happen when the pressure one faces to be β€œperfect” leads to drastic fallout.

Did you read Goodbye, Perfect? Do you want to?

Did you read any of Sara Barnard’s books just yet? Do you have any recommendations of books where teenagers just really feel…well, teenager-like and so realistic? Let me know in comments!



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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

28 thoughts on “Review: Goodbye, Perfect, Sara Barnard

  1. This book wasn’t on my radar before, but I like a lot of the things you pointed out about it: friendships, foster-kid, a good relationship. I’m going to grab this one at my library if I run across it now. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, there goes another contemporary book into my TBR! πŸ˜† As someone who’s still relatively new to reading contemporary books, I feel like I often associate “romance” with the genre (even though I know that’s not always the case), so it’s nice to hear about another contemporary novel focus on friendship more than romance. It was like that in Far From the Tree, where it was more about family and friendship than romance, and you know how much I loved that novel! πŸ˜‹

    Also, what you mentioned about the characters feeling like real teenagers… I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel with teenage characters that felt like they could be teenagers in real life, now that I think about. I mean, I’m thinking of Six of Crows, and even though Inej is 16, the amount of things she’s been through makes her much more mature than what most teenaged readers probably are. That makes me really excited to read Goodbye, Perfect to see if I can relate 😊 Great review, Marie!

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    1. YAY my job here is done πŸ˜€ This makes me SO happy ❀ I get that though, more often than not contemporary is associated with romance, yet there are incredible books that focus more on friendships or/and family and I adore them so much. This also makes me think of Save The Date, by Morgan Matson, which focuses on family, if you're interested πŸ˜€

      I get what you mean – in Six of Crows especially, they feel older, but I'm guessing it all comes with their worlds and lives, too. In Goodbye, Perfect, they felt so authentic, I loved it πŸ™‚
      Thank you SO much Zoie for your comment, I hope you'll love that one πŸ™‚

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  3. Wonderful review, Marie! 😊 I’m very intrigued by this book and I’m so excited to read it now (as well as A Quiet Kind of Thunder). I love books that portray realistic teenagers and friendships too, and Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills definitely fits that description!! You already know how excited I am for you to read that book, haha ❀️

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    1. Oh thank you so, so much Dezzy! I hope you’ll pick up this book sometime, I think you could really enjoy it πŸ™‚
      AHH YES I am so excited to read this book as well, I can’t wait haha πŸ™‚ ❀

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  4. I just finished this book yesterday, and I agree, one of the strengths was the exploration of all the different relationships Eden was a part of. I went 4.5 stars, but had the ending been different, I might have gone 5, because I really, really enjoyed this book.

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    1. I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this book as well! I thought it was a great story and loved that friendship was at the heart of it all too πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much for your comment πŸ˜€

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  5. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, Marie! It definitely sounds like such a feel-good, heart-warming story and I adore the focus on friendship and healthy relationships – that’s honestly so important and yet overlooked by most authors these days, especially in YA…
    It’s nice when authors capture their characters perfectly, isn’t it? Even when they are not remotely close to the characters’ age/sex/experiences.
    Perfect review, lovely! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is an amazing review, Marie!πŸ’˜I just added this to my TBR and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I’m so excited for the best friend relationship! Also, it really makes me happy that there’s a steady romance throughout the whole story- it seems like in every YA I read, the main characters break it off at one point or another. And sister relationships! Wow, I am most definitely in.
    Lovely post as always! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much Olivia! I can’t wait to hear what you think of this one, I really enjoyed it.
      Agree, we need more stories with a steady, healthy relationship all along the story, I… well this was the first book where I read that and I appreciated it a lot πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t read any Sarah Bernard books but I wanted to read A QUiet Kind of Thunder for so long. This book wasn’t on my radar but obviously after you review I have added it πŸ˜€ I am glad there were so many things in the book that you enjoyed πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy to hear this! Sara Barnard really have fantastic books and I hope you’ll get to read some of them soon, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve actually seen Sara Barnard’s books around a lot, every time I go into Waterstones they seem to be prominently displayed somewhere, but I’ve never picked on up despite all the good things I’ve heard about (guess her books are more I need to add to my TBR list). πŸ™‚
    Goodbye Perfect sounds like a great read; I don’t think I’ve read many books where the main character has been a foster child. It must have made the development of Eden’s relationship with Valerie interesting because even though it’s a sibling relationship it’s slightly different to all the others out there, right? Either way I’m definitely going to pick this up myself one day (and if I enjoy it Sara Barnard’s other releases too).
    Great review Marie. πŸ™‚ ❀

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    1. Oh yes, Sara Barnard seems quite popular actually in the UK, while she’s not that much in the US, from what I gathered. That’s too bad though, she seems like such an incredible author from what I’ve read so far, I can’t wait to read more πŸ™‚

      Yes exactly! The siblings relationship was all the more interesting because of the foster child situation, too and I really liked seeing them grow closer. It was such a good read πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much! ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well in that case it just means I need to get around to her books that much sooner; if she’s so popular in the UK and you’re saying you love her books.
        Sometimes the best sibling relationships are the ones when there’s a different situation like fostering in the mix, kind of like Rhy and Kell from Shades of Magic.
        That’s all right. πŸ™‚ ❀

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