Friday, July 19, 2019

YA Mini-Reviews

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard (2019)

Thank you to Suzanne at The Bookish Libra for the recommendation!

Eden is stunned to find out her best friend Bonnie has run away with her boyfriend, who turns out to be their school's music teacher.

I was drawn to the ripped-from-the-headlines premise of the book, and Barnard did a great job of making the story feel very grounded and real.  Having the story be from the POV of the friend of the runaway added all these extra layers.  Bonnie's actions cause Eden to really question their friendship - she wonders how close they were if Bonnie never told her about the relationship.

Eden says many times throughout the book that her and Bonnie had such a good friendship because they had very different personalities and balanced each other out; Bonnie's steadiness helped Eden.  However, the same could also be said for Eden's boyfriend, Connor - he was such a sweetheart, and I loved their relationship.  I also enjoyed the secondary storyline about Eden's adoption and her getting to know her adoptive sister, Valerie, better.  Overall, it was nice to see all this support around Eden as she grappled with Bonnie's betrayal.  I did want to shake her at times, though; I know she felt loyal to Bonnie and didn't want to break her promise to not reveal her whereabouts, but couldn't she see that her friend could be in serious trouble?  4 stars


Hope and Other Punch Lines by Julie Buxbaum (2019)

Abbi has spent her entire life being known as the subject of an iconic photo taken on the morning of September 11th.  Now, she just wants one summer of anonymity, but a fellow camp counselor wants her help to get some answers about that day.

Is it bad that I liked the secondary characters more than the main characters?  I sympathized with Abbi about the spotlight that has been on her, and I get that she just wanted to be a normal kid for a little while, but she was keeping a BIG secret, and I was not okay with it.  I wanted her to get the help she needed before things got worse.  And Noah - I didn't like the way he blackmailed Abbi into helping him, even though he tried to make up for it later.  I wanted him to be honest with her from the start.  Their eventual romance was a bit predictable, but they were still pretty awkwardly cute together.

Now, onto the secondary characters - Jack, Noah's best friend, was just awesome.  Funny and blunt, he's what I wished Noah was.  And Abbi's parents were pretty cool, too.  I loved how even though they were divorced, they still got along so well, and Abbi had a great relationship with them both.  Abbi's grandmother also plays an important role in her life and even though she was suffering from dementia, she still managed to have a big impact on the story.

September 11th was a day I'll never forget, and sometimes it doesn't sit well with me when it appears in books - I don't really know why.  However, I thought Buxbaum did an excellent job here of incorporating that day.  She created a unique angle, with Abbi's photo, and brought in some personal stories through other characters.  I also thought the story was informative and sensitive when it came to 9/11-related illnesses.

3.5 stars

20 comments:

  1. Ha. I tend to like secondary characters more than the main characters in a lot of books. I don't know why!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For me, they don't overstay their welcome - they come in with their snappy comments and sage advice, and then leave! They're usually the voice of reason.

      Delete
  2. Both of these sound interesting! I’ve wanted to read something by Sara Barnard for ages, but hadn’t looked at Goodbye Perfect. I think I’m going to have to add that one to my TBR!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have both of these on my radar, I hope I can get to them soon!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Julie Buxbaum's stuff always looks good, and while I tend not to read 9/11 related stuff much (it's just too raw of a real world thing) it's always nice when it's handled well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, anything 9/11-related is so sensitive, it's hard to handle it in a good way.

      Delete
  5. I'm so glad you enjoyed Barnard's book. I really love her contemporaries. Oh and yes, I wanted to shake Eden a few times too, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved both these books. I have read 4 books by both authors and they were all hits for me. I agree, that Bonnie's story added an interesting layer to Goodbye, Perfect, but I really liked the way Eden explored her relationships and the idea of love, and her boyfriend was like the most precious thing ever. I swear, Barnard writes the best soft boys

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was so sweet, and I wish Eden had listening to him a bit more!

      Delete
  7. Both of these sounds really good and are new to me too. I really like the sounds Goodbye, Perfect. Great reviews!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm glad you enjoyed these! Hope and Other Punch Lines sounds a bit tough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tracy! It was a bit rough, but not because it was bad.

      Delete
  9. I wish this was better bc that premise is so fantastic, but at the same time I'm so glad you did think it was a good read too. Looking forward to getting stuck into it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lovely reviews, Angela! I've read and really enjoyed Goodbye, Perfect, though I agree that at times, I wanted to shake some sense into the main character as well. The story as a whole felt realistic and yes, I loved the relationship with Connor, so sweet!

    ReplyDelete

I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!