Wednesday, January 11, 2017

HELLO, GOODBYE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN BY JENNIFER E. SMITH - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am here today with a book review of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith.


Gah! I can always count on Smith for a great romance! Of all her books, I think this one might be my favourite.

The book follows Clare and Aiden, two teens on their last night before they leave for college. They've been dating for two years, but they're going to school on two different sides of the country and have to decide if they will break up or try the long distance thing. Armed with a list of special places, the two spend their last 12 hours together wandering around their hometown saying goodbye and trying to decide what to do with their relationship.

I really loved this book. The storyline was simple enough, but everything was tinged with the bittersweetness of the possibility of the breakup, along with the anxiety of going to college. There comes a point when they reach a decision but the whole book there is a background feeling of sadness. They didn't want to be the couple who went to the same school, just because they were a couple. They had made their own choices and were going to have to decide how to move forward. Smith did a great job of portraying their emotions in the situation, as well as making the reader experience those feelings as well.

I really liked Clare and Aiden's relationship, despite the fact that Clare annoyed me for some of the book. She was a little too whiney and for a part, only really cared about herself. But together they were super cute and well matched. Despite Clare's fears of committing, they were a good couple. It was also nice to see the guy wanting to continue the relationship and being more of a hopeless romantic than the girl, a lot of the time the girl is dramatically in love and the guy is more blase. In this case, it was more the opposite.

I also really loved the family portrayals in this book. Typically, if you get one family as being really supportive, the other is too, or sometimes is absent. I thought that both sets of families were well represented and I appreciated the diversity of their interactions with both Aiden and Clare. Her parents were super supportive and happy for her, his parents, especially his dad, were more against the school he had chosen. But both sets of parents showed love to their children, despite their differences.

Even thought this book was fairly short, as are most of Smith's books, this one felt longer and had more depth than the other books she's written. As contemporaries go, this book wasn't all that deep, but it did deal with some issues that generated a decent amount of conflict. The story not only dealt with the romance between Clare and Aiden, but also their friendships with other people, their relationships within their families, as well as the effects of growing up and moving away from home. Smith really was able to capture the fears many teens have (or at least I had) going into post-secondary and that added depth to the story and made it less focused on solely the romance.

In the end, I did agree with the decision they made, it was the best thing for everyone. But then with the "prologue" ending, I was really pleased. I won't say what happened exactly, but I will say that Smith did a great job of creating a realistic situation and developing their characters months after leaving. I really appreciated, however, how she left things, it was super sweet.

Overall, this is a great romance that deals with the bittersweetness that is going off to college, not just within a relationship, but also as a new experience and finding yourself.