Disclosure: I received a review copy of Goodbye, Perfect from Pansing Books, a regional distributor, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard • contains 320 pages • published February 8, 2018 by Macmillan Children's Books, Pan Macmillan • classified as Contemporary, Young Adult • obtained through Pansing Books • read as ARC • shelve on Goodreads
When I was wild, you were steady...
Now you are wild – what am I?
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 a guy Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. And it's the last person she would have expected.
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.
Sara Barnard does not shy away from writing about difficult relationships. That much is evident after her third book, Goodbye, Perfect continues in that direction.
Her latest novel deals with a View Spoiler »teacher-student « Hide Spoiler relationship. Normally, I put down these kinds of books as soon as I find out that that’s the premise. In the case of Goodbye, Perfect, however, I felt compelled to continue. It’s clear that the situation isn’t glorified. Instead, the book focusses on the intricacies of how things could get this far.
What I liked about Goodbye, Perfect was that the main character isn’t technically at the centre of the story. She is an external party trying to make sense of things. That lends a perspective that’s not so common in YA books. Usually, the main character is in the midst of the action, and readers get to know their thoughts. Here, readers are not privy to the thoughts of the characters of the main conflict.
Goodbye, Perfect is an important book. It grapples with abuse of power in a manner that is infinitely disturbing but also very relevant to today’s youth. At the same time, it deals with the complexity of friendships as dynamics change over time and they’re not always balanced.
I also enjoyed reading about the main character’s relationships with her adoptive parents, her adoptive elder sister and her younger sister. These characters are so wonderfully portrayed, as each tries to figure out how they fit into their nuclear family that isn’t entirely traditional. They have to learn to accept and choose to love each other, which isn’t an easy process either.
While there are heart-warming outcomes to Goodbye, Perfect, it’s not exactly a happy book. Still, I recommend that you give it a try. If anything, it considers how messy life can be and the importance of being there for the people we hold dear.