Paola Review {Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead}

Posted September 3, 2015 by Liza in Guest Review, Reviews / 4 Comments

Paola Review {Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead}

Goodbye Stranger

by Rebecca Stead
Pages: 304
Published on August 4th 2015
by Wendy Lamb Books
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Middle Grade
Amazon | B&N | BookDepository | Goodreads

Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody's games--or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade? This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl--as a friend? On Valentine's Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

4.5 Stars

I didn’t expect to fall in love with Goodbye Stranger. I don’t usually gravitate towards Middle Grade but I made an exception because other bloggers really enjoyed it and the cover is breathtakingly beautiful. I had no idea that it was going to become one of the best novels I’ve read this year, let alone that it would spark an interest in MG. It is THAT good.

This novel follows a couple of young teens who are starting seventh grade. It centers around a group of three friends and it explores their lives and personalities. I loved that all of the characters are realistic, interesting, and incredibly rich. Even though the characters are young, I was very fascinated by their lives and completely invested in the outcome of the story. I  think a lot of readers will be able to relate to these characters since each represents a difference middle school and/or high school experience. Add the fact that the novel is beautifully written and you have a winner.

My favorite aspect of this novel is that there is diversity everywhere.  I’ve read plenty of novels that acknowledge diversity so much that it becomes meaningless. In this case, it was integrated so beautifully that it didn’t compete with the story. Another thing that I really enjoyed was that the story’s main focus is friendship. It dissects friendships and the role they play in the different stages of life. Even the “romance” was built out of Bridge’s friendship with Sherm. Their relationship develops so naturally that it made me wish that this dynamic would be more common in the YA world.

Goodbye Stranger is a smart coming of age story. The prose is gorgeous and the story keeps you interested until the very end. Even if you don’t read MG, you should give this a try if you’re looking for something unique that also happens to have a lot of heart. 

About Paola


Paola blogs at Don’t Fold the Page. Twenty-something. Anglophile. Cat lady. YA Bookworm. Occasional fangirl. Amateur baker. Football (the soccer kind) enthusiast.

Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


About Rebecca Stead

I grew up in New York City, where I was lucky enough to attend the kind of elementary school where a person could sit in a windowsill, or even under a table, and read a book, and no one told you to come out and be serious (well, eventually someone did, but not right away). On those windowsills, under those tables, and in my two beds at night, I fell in love with books. (I had two beds because my parents were divorced.)

One day, my three-year-old son, though fabulous, accidentally pushed my laptop off the dining-room table, and my stories were gone. Poof.

So. It was time to write something new. Something joyful (to cheer me up: I was pretty grouchy about the lost stories). I went to a bookstore (an independent bookstore) and bought an armload of books that I remembered loving as a kid. I read them. I went back to the store and bought more books written for children. I read them. And then I began to write again.

Some people will tell you that real writers don’t use parentheticals (which is nonsense). The most important thing to know about writing is that there are no rules.



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4 responses to “Paola Review {Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead}

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