Title: Goodbye, Perfect
Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Publication Date: February 8th 2018
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟
When I was wild, you were steady . . .
Now you are wild – what am I?
Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.
Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.
As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
“SOMETIMES IT JUST TAKES THAT ONE PERSON TO SEE BEYOND WHAT EVERYONE TELLS THEM THEY’RE MEANT TO SEE.”
A Quiet Kind Of Thunder by Sara Barnard was one of my favourite books of 2017 so – despite not loving her debut as much – I was curious to read whatever came next. Would I love it, or would I hate it? Goodbye, Perfect falls on the latter end of the spectrum. It wasn’t awful, but it also wasn’t anything that special.
Starting with the positives, Sara Barnard is renowned in UKYA for her faithful representation of female friendships and this book was no exception. As well as exploring the relationship between Eden and Bonnie, she touches on many other ‘teenage’ topics, such as academic pressure and romance, and I really enjoyed how the novel engaged with these themes. Eden is dyslexic, and she’s in a committed relationship with Connor who is a young carer (and an absolute sweetheart.) It was also lovely to see an adoptive family dynamic in a positive light, especially in regards to Eden’s relationships with her sisters, Daisy and Valerie.
But, ultimately, the book is all about Bonnie and her relationship with Mr Cohn and that was literally the downfall. The latter part didn’t bother me so much because we also had the ‘teacher-student relationship scandal’ at my own high school; I just really hated Bonnie so it was difficult to enjoy a book where the story revolves around her character. By relaying the narrative through Eden’s perspective, the author does well to avoid romanticising the relationship between Bonnie and Jack. But I do think, at times, it wasn’t stressed enough just how serious and problematic the situation was.
Overall, this book was more goodbye than perfect, but I will probably still read whatever Sara Barnard writes next. I love how honestly she explores certain topics in each of her books, though I wish they were explored more in depth in this one. Despite the end-of-chapter inserts of flashbacks and newspaper articles that made the main subject matter of the book a bit more bearable, it’s not one I’ll be shoving into your hands anytime soon.