Book Review: Jennifer E. Smith's Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between*

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* I was fortunate to receive a copy of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between from Headline via Bookbridgr, thank you! *

Warning: Whilst not explicitly stating spoilers, some of my comments may hint at what happens throughout the book, so if you don't want to be spoiled in any way, just read up to the spoiler shield.

Clare and Aiden have been together for two years, but that might have to come to an end soon due to their departures from their home town to their colleges on opposite coasts. On the final night before they leave, Clare makes a list to help her make the decision of whether tomorrow will be goodbye forever, or goodbye for now. The list is a scavenger hunt that follows their relationship from the first time they saw each other in science class, to the moment they're sitting in the car ready to say goodbye. Along the way we meet Stella and Scotty, their only two friends who are also still in town, with Stella soon to depart to a local college, and Scotty staying put after not being accepted anywhere. A lot happens in one night, and a decision has to be made: stay together or break up?

My feelings summarised: In short, I loved this after 100% expecting not to love this. My experiences with contemporary YA haven't been the most inspired so you can understand why I'd be skeptical going into this. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the maturity of this story, and how much I rooted for the protagonists to be happy, together or apart. This book has been dubbed 'perfect for fans of John Green', but I disagree with that statement completely. The characters were what they're supposed to be, 'young adults', making grown-up decisions, with the adventures they experience being realistic and relatable to an audience in a similar situation.


*** VAGUE SPOILERS FOLLOW ***


Pros: The characters. The stand-out character for me was Scotty, because when it comes to the time of leaving home and going to university, everybody either has a Scotty or is a Scotty, the person left back in the home town whilst all of their friends go off on new adventures. His actions seemed the most justified throughout and I found him a really believable representation of somebody unwilling to express how upset they are being left alone, resulting in them getting in a lot of trouble. I also really liked the two leads, Clare and Aidan, as their mature approach to the situation they're in was refreshing. A lot of young adult literature I've read involves teenagers making poor decisions due to just not thinking about consequences. Clare and Aidan weigh up their options like adults, knowing what is best for either of them individually might not be best for them as a couple. I did feel like I was reading about the decisions of grown humans, rather than the very young-sounding protagonists I've found so difficult to relate to in John Green novels. 

Cons: The cover. Yes, nothing to do with the story, just the cover. There's something about pink and black as a combination that really grates me. I don't know if it's some sort of memory of my teenage years and pink/black knee high socks, but I look at it and it screams emo MySpace, something none of us really need to be reminded of. That aside, I do like how all of Jennifer's books have been re-published with matching 'bright colour and black' colour schemes, it's just a shame this pink and black one rubs me the wrong way.

Other comments: The ENDING. That ending actually hit me, completely out of nowhere, right in the heart. It was what I found Eleanor and Park was trying to do, but just didn't work for me. 

The trade paperback of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between was released by Headline on the 1st September, so you can grab your copy now! I'm definitely going to be picking up some more of Jennifer's books after enjoying this for a bit of low-key, more-mature YA fluff.

M x

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