Monday, August 31, 2015

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between - Review

Hello, Goodbye, & Everything in Between

By: Jennifer E Smith

Expected Publication: September 1st 2015 by Poppy

256 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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Goodreads description--On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll 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 will lead them to friends and family, 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?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

I’ve had Jennifer E Smith on my TBR list for years. I’ve always intended to read something by her, but nothing has stumbled into my lap. Considering the hype around some of her other books, I was excited about the opportunity to read and review her newest release Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. Yet I was a little concerned about this book based off the description alone. While I’m not one of those readers that only wants to read books with a happily ever after and I can deal with the death of a beloved character, I also like to make sure that I don’t read books that don’t have a point. And that was my fear of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. Would I be okay with following these two characters around for an entire night of them reliving their relationship only to see it end in “goodbye?”

Let’s face it…TV, books, and various other forms of media has really pushed following your own path regardless of the relationships in your lives. Granted, making life long decisions based off your high school sweetheart isn’t always a sound decision. But I don’t like the idea that just because you found the one your heart loves in high school means that the relationship is doomed to failure. Plus what’s the point of achieving major career goals or traveling on really cool adventures if you have no one to share it with? What’s the point of surface level relationships when you could have something deeper and more meaningful? I realize that every person isn’t looking for the same thing out of life as everyone else. But these are the questions that I struggled with and the way I thought. In my life, I wanted love and companionship more than I wanted to go to an Ivy league school or climb the corporate ladder. And the best part…personally I feel like I have it all. So…my point being, that I don’t always like to read books where the characters value college and career above relationships.

Personal baggage aside, I had a little trouble connecting to Clare. She’s the one trying to be “logical” about their relationship. They’re traveling to different colleges…she to Dartmouth on the east coast and Aidan to UCLA on the west coast. They chose their colleges based on following their own paths, but now they have to decide if they’re going to try to do a long distance relationship or just give up and call it quits now. Aidan, I connected to more. He is the more romantic of the two of them. And he wants to make things work. He wants to just see how things go. To try. It’s no joke that long distance relationships are extremely difficult. And all of the scenarios that Clare pictures are possible. Yet, I couldn’t help feeling like she was working herself up over something that hadn’t even happened yet. She was trying to prevent those things from happening, but who’s to say that any of those scenarios would have happened anyway? Nothing is set in stone. I could understand her, but I didn’t quite agree with her.

Clare and Aidan both had histories that were pretty well flushed out. Flashbacks in a myriad of settings made me feel like I’d been a part of their personal relationship history as well as their separate family histories as well. The side characters obviously didn’t have as much time, but it didn’t take long at all for me to feel connected and even invested in their own side pieces, especially Stella and Scotty.

I will say that I found the narrative a bit distracting at times. It had an "all knowing eye in the sky" type of feel…where the narrator knows what all the characters are thinking and feeling and any particular character’s thoughts or feelings might be thrown into the mix at any given time. This sometimes pulls me out of the story because I’m so used to (and prefer) reading books that follow one main character’s thoughts and feelings even if it is a third person past tense voice. Or if the book follows multiple characters then they’re usually split into chapters or sections that follow each character individually.

My final rating of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is 4 stars. I got misty eyed a few times. Even though I didn’t connect to Clare as much, I did connect to their dilemma and their relationship as a whole. The side characters and experiences of the night really did bring everything to life. Have you read Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between? What did you think? Let me know!

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