Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Rating: ★★ 1/2
Synopsis: On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they’ll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?
Huge thank you to Hachette Book Group Canada for this ARC!
I have mixed emotions when it comes to Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. On one hand, I absolutely adored the overarching storyline for these teens regarding their relationship and the journey back through it, but on the other side of the coin, parts of this book felt like forced melodrama because of the trip back through time.
I think what I struggled with the most were the characters. I didn’t really care for Clare and Aiden and I found their relationship to feel a little hollow at times. Funny enough though, when it was more about the two of them as individuals, I found myself empathizing in a lot of ways, especially with Clare. There’s a scene where Clare takes about college and needing to be someone, and that bit alone was something I could relate to: the need to be perfect, the desire to know exactly what I want and how I want to get there. Jennifer E. Smith brings up a lot of great issues in terms of per-college jitters that I totally found myself nodding my head with.
Even though I didn’t care for Clare and Aiden’s relationship, I admit to enjoying the fluff when it was there. There is so cute moments in this story, but when it lead to the melodrama train it was kind fo disappointing. I feel like there were better ways to resolve a lot of the situations in this novel without the melodrama, and instead the story decided the melodrama would make for the more interesting route. I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment, however.
I guess part of me especially felt like it was strange how these two characters were trying to figure out whether they should stay together or break up when we live in a world where technology really does allow us to stay together and connected. It was made even stranger when you get to the ending of the novel, which if I’m being frank, felt like quite the cop out. I don’t mind ambiguity, but you spend so much of the novel with one character being super set on breaking up and the other wanting to stay together, that it just fell very flat and it didn’t really go anywhere (and perhaps that’s the point).
Still, there were times where I was enjoying myself in this read, and I can’t deny that. While I was frustrated with the characters, the book is a quick read in every sense of the word. I really did love the representation of life after high school and pre-college jitters and I felt like when the novel was focused more on these issues, it was a lot stronger for it. Still, while I’m hesitant to recommend this book, I think there is definitely some value in the story that is worth checking out because I think how some of the issues are presented are really well done. I feel like if the melodrama had been more toned down, I would have enjoyed this book more. Although this was my first Jennifer E. Smith book, I still want to give her another try.