Thursday, July 30th 2015
Author: Rebecca Stead
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: August 2015
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction/Contemporary
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Bridge, no longer Bridget, was almost killed in a car accident when she was younger. Tabitha is no nonsense and straight forward. Em is popular and pretty, with a changing body and a maybe boyfriend. Three best friends who are coming of age.
Here’s the thing: After reading When You Reach Me and Liar & Spy, I have a certain expectation for Rebecca Stead books. They have to be lovely and warm and bittersweet and heartbreaking. They have to show love and friendship and charm and charisma. And they have to have a little bit of mystery.
Goodbye Stranger does not disappoint.
I loved going back and forth between the time before Valentine’s Day, where Bridge, Tabitha and Emily are dealing with some very real life issues, to flipping it to Valentine’s Day when a no-named, not identified girl is taking a mental health day from her life. The plot moves flawlessly back and forth, totally submerging the reader in the three girls’ drama and the lone girl’s isolation. I don’t want to give a lot away because the story should be experienced simply by knowing it is very, very, very good.
Bridge and Tabitha and Emily are all friends I’ve had. I’ve had a couple of Vinnys and some Ginas in there too. Stead does a brilliant BRILLIANT job of portraying the love and warmth of female friendship along with the sharp and painful knife in the back that many girls face. This book was super realistic for me, mostly because the nameless girl on Valentine’s Day suffering brought back some dull yet painful memories of my own time in middle school/beginning of high school. It’s that shiny, shiny blade of frenemies, that girl who is just mean to be mean and then tries to be nice later on. It’s a mean girl.
But it’s more than that. It’s a changing body, some new friends and a boy’s attention. It’s teachers who inspire and families who care and all different kinds of love.
Luckily, the book is mostly filled with Bridge, Tabitha and Em’s friendship which is solid and heartwarming. I loved how the three banded together, even when they were mad at each other.
Another fabulous story.
Rating 10 One Of The Best