Goodbye, Perfect: hello brilliance
“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 a guy Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. And it’s the last person she would have expected. 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.”
Hello, my name is Steph and I think Sara Barnard is one of the most incredible authors ever. Her books are just WONDERFUL and Goodbye Perfect is absolutely NO EXCEPTION. I was lucky enough to receive a proof a few months ago and I am STILL thinking about it now. It is STILL in my head. Eden, her crew, her story, her choices, her sheer brilliant, are all still in my head. That’s HOW GOOD this book is. If you like SHEER BRILLIANT stories then please check it out.
My initial review of this book is just: OH MAN. I LOVE IT. But I think you guys probably want a bit more than that, ha!
So, Goodbye Perfect tells the story of Eden and her best friend Bonnie. Best friends. Have been best friends forever. Spend all of their time together. Total opposites, but it works for them. Eden is “all edges” (a quote from the book which I absolutely adore), Bonnie is her “perfect” best friend – she never does wrong, works hard in school, everyone likes her. Eden loves her best friend. They are the qunitessential best friends. They do everything together. When Bonnie starts in a new relationship without telling Eden, things start to spiral out of control. Bonnie’s new boyfriend, unbeknownst to anyone is their music teacher, Mr Cohn. This blows Eden’s socks off. Bonnie ends up running away with Mr Cohn saying they’re going to be together forever. For everyone in her life this is a toal shock, it’s totally out of character. Eden goes on an incredible journey to try to rescue her best friend, to get her best friend back.
One of the things that stands out and hits me in the gut every single time I think about this book is that ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending is incredible. It’s so real. It’s so raw. I definitely cried, quite a lot. When I read it, I emailed Sara and sent her an incredibly long email saying “Yes. That was totally the right call“. Just now thinking about the ending, the story, the progression, the changes, it’s making me a bit emotional.
Eden has this incredible support network around her that she doesn’t even realise she has because Bonnie is her life and she sees Bonnie as her all. Once Bonnie is gone, Eden crumbles a little (only natural, we all have that best friend!) She’s got an incredible boyfriend, Connor, who I absolutely adore. Her big sister, Violet, is a brilliant big sister. Eden falls into a hole and feels initially like there’s no one to support her, but she’s picked up and pulled out of the hole when she needs it most.
One of the things I always love about Sara’s books is the use of an interesting layout. She always includes texts and interesting layout features in her books. Goodbye Perfect features texts and bullet points/newspaper articles. I love it when books have quirks like that. It makes them so much more readable. Text messages are my favourite, they can convey so much about a character in their texts. Sara is the queen of that – Queen of Text Messages with Friends in Books. The newspaper articles included in the book add another level of interest into the book – they give a scandalised version of the story. They are probably a pretty accurate interpretation of our media too… sometimes, while reading, they made me infuriated, but let’s be honest, in real life people read them. People believe them. Seeing the story for real and the story in the paper, sensationalised version vs real version was an interesting spin on things. It certainly gave me a lot to think about.
I adored it. It is definitely one of those books I will reread. I love that it touches on quite a taboo subject, but it’s handled with care. It’s not overly scandalised. I just can’t praise this book enough. It’s just brilliant. Sara Barnard keeps knocking out absolute winners. If you’ve read A Quiet Kind of Thunder or Beautiful Broken Things and loved them then Goodbye Perfect is just as brilliant. if not my fave of the three.
My Goodreads review encapsulates this whole book so well:
“This book is perfect.
There’s a tough and “all edges” MC, her “perfect” best friend, her increidble family, a gorgeous boyfriend and a lot of trouble.
I love everything Sara Barnard writes and this is no exception. Possibly my favourite thing, I just adored it.”
Have you read Goodbye Perfect?
What would you do if your best friend ran away with a teacher?
Could you stand by and let it happen, or would you intervene?
Talk to me on twitter, or in the comments. I have a lot of passion for this book. I need to talk about it. I also need everyone to buy it. So please do.