My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodbye Perfect has some wonderful character development and depth but while Barnard handles a difficult topic with real skill I’m afraid the storyline just wasn’t for me.
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.
Hmm As a huge fan of Barnard I really wanted to love this book but for some reason it just didn’t happen for me. It may just have been that the story, about a girl whose 15 year old best friend runs off with her music teacher, made me uncomfortable or it may just have been that I was in the wrong frame of mind when reading it but I just didn’t connect with it the way I have with the authors other books.
It is very well written as you would expect from Barnard and even though I didn’t love the story I did find it very readable and flew through the whole thing in a couple of days.
There were elements about it I absolutely loved, the relationship between main character Eden and her adoptive family (the fact that the main character was adopted), inclusion of a teenager who is a carer for his mother, the way it looks at how people are judged based on their background. All wonderfully done and so great to see in YA fiction.
I am not sure I necessarily connected with Eden but she was very different from what I expected and from what you usually find in these type of stories. She’s not had the easiest of lives, is argumentative and immature in some ways but her attitude and goals are very grown up in a lot of ways. She’s just full of contradictions, which I thought was wonderful, and she’s not the only one. Almost every character has layers and depth, something I loved, and I really liked how both they and the relationships between them developed through the story.
The pacing is maybe a little on the slow side and I did find myself getting frustrated with it, particularly in the start. I felt like a lot could have been resolved much faster and much easier and far too much time was spent with Eden going back and forward trying to decide whether to tell everyone what she knows. With my general uneasiness around the teacher student relationship I just wanted it to be resolved and for the story to move elsewhere.
I think these are me issues however rather than any kind of problem with the book and based on the other reviews I can see that a lot of people have really loved it. It is definitely a worthwhile read even if just to get some discussion around the issues it raises.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.