Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer Smith

hello goodbye2

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.

Rating: 4/5

Book Information
Book Name: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
Author: Jennifer Smith
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
Format: Paperback

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between in:
Goodreads | Hachette New ZealandBook Depository | FoylesMy review on Goodreads

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. ❤

25 thoughts on “Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer Smith

  1. Great review! I’ll admit I didn’t read it completely just in case because I really want to read this book. I’ve only ever read “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” but I have all her other books on my TBR, I just have to get to them haha

  2. Wonderful detailed review, CW! I have to read this book soon and it’s been a while since I’ve read Jennifer E. Smith’s books. I enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight and This Is What Happy Looks Like. 💗 So fun to read.

    • Thank you Bea! I’m so excited for you to read it. 😊
      Oooh I’ll have to look for those! Unfortunately my library’s eBook database only has You are Here — so I guess I’m reading that next! But after that, definitely The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. It sounds magical. ;_;

  3. First: that graphic is ADORABLE. I love it. I haven’t read this yet (but it sounds like I must :D) nor any of her other books, but I think that will change soon :P

    • AW Thanks Michelle!! 😊
      Oooh I really recommend it. It’s a very subtle book but so so beautiful. I was sobbing when I finished it. X’D I was so overwhelmed with emotions! And if I can infer from this book, Jennifer Smith’s writing is lovely.

  4. No to 1 & 2 but that will definitely change, this sounds like a lovely book that I’d enjoy.
    Number 3, does being in a relationship count? 🙊 it’s been a month now and that was a huge step for me (with having anxiety and all)

  5. I haven’t read this book but I was supposed to have my friend buy it for me as a birthday gift. On the last minute, I pulled out a different book. Now I’m quite regretting not buying this. Hmmm.

  6. Oh my gosh, I’m glad you connected with this book! I’ve read The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight (I think that;s the name), and I liked it at the time, but I dunno, it just wasn’t memorable to me :( I’ll definitely give Hello Goodbye and Everything In Between a go though! :D

  7. Immediately upon hearing the topic of this book, my chest tightened from simply thinking about what the characters must have been feeling. I would never survive going through that experience. I’m so lucky university in Australia doesn’t work like the American college system.

    Your review is absolutely fantastic, too. I get the impression that this book is really sensitive and thoughtful.

    • I’m with you, Paige. In NZ we don’t have to travel either – unless you want to go abroad, which is not for me.
      Aw, thank you! That means a lot! It really is sensitive and thoughtful, and very very sincere, which I loved. I hope you get the chance to read it!

  8. This is such a fantastic review, and I am so glad to be reading your reviews again. I just really enjoy this book’s topic, and I have it on my TBR. Everything about leaving home, going off to college, and relationships struggling like that just kind of hits close to home, and this is why I think I could really enjoy this book. Plus, the fact that you cried makes me feel like I will, too, and I can’t wait. That sounds weird? I just really love books that make me feel things, a lot, ahah :)

  9. Great review! I’m so glad you loved HGAEIB! All of Jennifer E. Smith’s books have been in my TBR pile for quite sometime now, so I hope I will get to them soon! I will be starting my sophomore year of college in a couple of weeks, so I am sure I will be able to connect to these characters and understand the emotions they are having as I remember what I was feeling last year.

    -Jordan @ The Heart of a Book Blogger

    • Thank you Jordan! I hope you get to read HGAEIB; it’s a lovely book and I hope that, when you do read it, that you’ll enjoy it!
      Ahh yes! I never went through anything of the sort because New Zealanders don’t typically move away to study, but I felt it nonetheless – probably because of Smith’s amazing writing. <3

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