Saturday, September 26, 2015

Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead (Tween)

I have never read a book written by Rebecca Stead, but Goodbye Stranger was a fantastic surprise, so I am sure this won't be my last book from this author. The writing was simple but profound which is why I think it will appeal to a broad range of readers. The main character of the story is Bridge, who survived from being hit by a car as a child and now, in junior high, has an existential question hanging over her head; did I survive for a reason? That question is built upon as the stories start to take shape and each character has to make decisions about the type of person they are and the type of person they want to be. First romance, social media, and trusting your instincts all played a part in building the book's foundation. I enjoyed the theme of friendships in Goodbye Stranger. Tab, Bridge, and Em are supportive of each other, even if they don't always agree. I also love the fact that the adults were always in the background. They were there in the story and they were not absentee or negligent; they were an influential part in the lives of their kids and I felt their presence in the story, even if they weren't completely fleshed out as characters.

Every character is trying to figure out how to say goodbye to a situation, a friendship, an interaction, or just a way of doing things that isn't working. While the characters were young, I could still relate to everything they were going through, and I think you would be hard pressed to find any adult who couldn't relate this book to things they have experienced both in adolescence and their adult life.

There are two narratives happening and they eventually intersect, but until they do, the reader is treated to two very engaging and, at times, emotional stories. I really really loved the way I came to care about each person in this story and how they eventually found what they were looking for in order to say that special goodbye. I would definitely recommend this heart warming book to readers of all ages. *JK*

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