My sincerest thanks to Hachette New Zealand, for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have only one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they 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 leads them to family and friends, 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?
So here is a book I didn’t expect to love.
I hadn’t felt truly emotionally connected to a book in a long, long time before reading this lovely book. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is quiet book that explores relationships, the rite of passage of leaving, and love – and I loved every minute of it.
The story follows Clare and Aidan’s last night together before they part ways and leave for college. We dive into a chapter of their lives with no knowledge of these characters and their seemingly quaint relationship, but by its end I felt viscerally attuned to them and the dynamic of their relationship – flaws and all. Whilst Clare is practical, reserved, and has a more logical perspective of love and relationships, Aidan is spontaneous, spirited, and optimistic. Through their interactions and nostalgia, we learn of their shared history, affinity, consonances, and differences. Simply put, they are two everyday teenagers who are still trying to discover who they are, who they will become, and the meaning of the relationship they share. Though the entirety of the book is an indepth recount of their last night, it is a night filled with unexpected but meaningful lessons and growth.
Their nights always seem to begin in this way: the two of them sitting in Aidan’s dusty Volvo, trying to decide what to do.
But tonight is different.
It’s not a beginning at all. Tonight is an ending.
As well as its compelling character study, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is about being at the foot of a new adventure. Though this book centers on the transition from high school to college, I loved the analysis on the emotional process of leaving home; how it is a rite of passage that promise challenges, excitement, but also a gnawing doubt. This book also offers one of the most holistic portrayals of the pre-college process I have read to date: characters didn’t get into the colleges they wanted, the disappointment and familial pressure that comes with applications, how some worked hard for their acceptance, and how some settled. It was bittersweet and realistic but very appreciated.
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is explorative and introspective by nature, and Smith handles her themes flawlessly. On the surface, this book may appear to be about a relationship on the brink of breakdown, but underneath it is a dialectic on what makes a relationship work, growing up and growing apart, and finding your own path in life. The meaningful, deliberate pacing allowed us a deeper understanding of the imperceptible changes taking place with each moment. The beauty of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is that it brought to light the small significances in the mundane. Seemingly ordinary emotions – fleeting and lingering – are fleshed out, showing the gravity of the moment and how a singular moment can change perspectives and lives.
There’s nothing to do now but nod into his shirt, trace the veins on the back of his hand, tip her head back and kiss him, long and hard and true, and then stand up together to leave this place behind, and start moving ahead to whatever comes next.
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between represents everything I love in a book: simple, subtle, emotional, thoughtful, and an appreciation for the small things in life. The writing is exquisite, and it possessed a subtle but profound wisdom and acuity. By the end, it was three in the morning and I cried; I was filled with so much raw emotion and wonderful feelings I don’t quite have words for. Insightful, poignant, and rich with emotion, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is full of heart, and is easily one of my favourite reads of 2016.
Book Name: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
Author: Jennifer Smith
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Hello friends, I am so excited and relieved to be posting my first review after my hiatus!
- Have you read Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between? Did you like it?
- Have you read any of Jennifer E Smith’s books? I love her writing; do you have any recommendations?
- Did you go through a big transition or change recently? What was it like? Share with me your stories below. ❤