Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between – Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Release Date: 1st September 2015
One night. A life-changing decision. And a list...
Of course Clare made a list. She creates lists for everything. That's just how she is.
But tonight is Clare and Aidan's last night before college and this list will decide their future, together or apart.
It takes them on a rollercoaster ride through their past - from the first hello in science class to the first conversation at a pizza joint, their first kiss at the beach and their first dance in a darkened gymnasium - all the way up to tonight.
A night of laughs, fresh hurts, last-minute kisses and an inevitable goodbye.
But will it be goodbye forever or goodbye for now?
This book follows a couple on their final night together before both of them leave to begin college. They are in turmoil as they are debating whether or not to break up before they leave as each has their own opinion about what is best for them. You have Clare, who is practical, convinced that their only option is to break up as their long distance relationship would hold them back from having a true college experience. And then there is Aidan, who is more of a romantic, he is fighting for them to stay together and to try at having a long distance relationship. It is really an emotional read because it is so easy for anyone to relate to the sadness that comes from the last days before leaving for college, that sense of excitement and foreboding that comes from experiencing the end of a chapter of one’s story.
I have always been wary of books which take place during the space of one day, I tend to prefer to see the entire story, not to continually looking to the past in flashbacks. It has to be a well-written book to convince me to forget my reservations about such things, this is one of those books. You don’t even notice that you are reading flashbacks because they are integrated into the work so effortlessly, and I think it helps that this is only a short book. If this book was nay longer it would mean that is takes almost as long to read as time passes in the pages. I finished this book in a little over two hours and I was fully immersed in the lives of Clare and Aidan in those two hours.
I think the reason I enjoyed this book as much as I did is that I connected with the characters, but more importantly I connected with their circumstances. I was an emotional wreck before I left for university and I didn’t even have a boyfriend who I was potentially breaking up with to blame it on. I was one of the last to leave for university so I experienced all of the goodbyes until I was the last man standing and it sucked because I hate goodbyes. Reading this book brought back those emotions for me, it sucked saying goodbye to your best friends, some of them I drifted apart from and some are still my best friends today, but either way, saying goodbye for any period of time sucked because I was so used to seeing them near enough every day. So for Aidan and Clare it is worse because they are saying goodbye to the person they love who has been a constant in their lives for two years. I found myself tearing up at moments and I think it was both Smith's excellent writing, but also my understanding of the circumstances.
The characters were perfect, Clare is so cautious and sees everything in black and white, that there are only two options for the relationship going forward. Aidan, on the other hand, is very much a guy who takes it as it comes. He is willing to work for the things he cares about and he cares about his relationship with Clare, seeing no reason to end it over a little thing like distance. I liked the debate that went on and that you could see the obvious connection. It was strange to be this observer to such private moments in a relationship, and Smith out did herself in writing something that felt so genuine, you had the true little moments of a relationship and the inside jokes and the things which too often get missed in writing romance in books. Smith knows how to write about people.
This is an easy read, it is a little emotional (at least for me) and is wonderfully written. I cannot recommend it enough to anyone for the very real characters in this book and for the perfect story. It is all about growing up and figuring out how to move forward and it is perfect. This is the kind of book which should not be overlooked, it is worth the read because it is just so good.
Have you read any books which you instantly connected with? Is it just that some books speak to you because you’ve experienced something similar or is it down to the author’s skill as well that you feel this connection?