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!
A “QUIET”, YET STUNNING CONTEMPORARY READ
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.
GREAT FOCUS ON DIFFERENT KINDS OF RELATIONSHIPS
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: 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, 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 “perfect” 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!