by Rebecca Stead
Published on August 4th 2015
by Wendy Lamb Books
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Middle Grade
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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?
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.
Paola blogs at Don’t Fold the Page. Twenty-something. Anglophile. Cat lady. YA Bookworm. Occasional fangirl. Amateur baker. Football (the soccer kind) enthusiast.