Thursday, June 18

Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger
Rebecca Stead

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-0385743174
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Date of publication: August 4, 2015
Age: Grades 6 - 9
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Themes: middle school, friendship, betrayal, choices, consequences

Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody's games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade? This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend? On Valentine's Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

This is a true "middle-grade" novel dealing with all the things that make middle school so horrible. Changing friends, drama, changing bodies, drama, changing attractions, and drama. On the one hand, I really wouldn't recommend it, because it's got all that content that I'd like to forget about middle school. But truly, on the other hand, it's an excellently written novel about the challenges of growing up. It takes a good look different character's choices, and the severe or challenging consequences of those actions.

The characters are really well done because they were believable. It wasn't just the standard heroes and bullies; it felt real in how the main characters made mistakes and how supporting characters reacted to those mistakes (do you like how vague I'm being? I don't want to give anything away). It's accurate. I really think it is. But that's also what makes it depressing (going back to that first hand...). So you decide. I appreciate the excellent story and writing (and it does have a good ending!), but I will take care when recommending it. I could see it as a possible Newbery contender, but won't be pushing for it.

Pre-Order on Amazon
Or put your name on the holds list at your library

(Digital ARC provided through NetGalley)

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