Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard – BOOK REVIEW
“When I was wild, you were steady . . .
Now you are wild – what am I?
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 the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.
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.”
I loved Sara Barnard’s other two books and couldn’t wait to start Goodbye Perfect. However, I had very mixed feelings on it.
I thought this book was okay. There were certain aspects of this book that I really enjoyed. I loved the relationship Eden had with her little sister Daisy. It was fantastic to read about a close knit family consisting of both biological and non-biological relations, especially how Eden and Valerie (her adoptive parents’ child) evolved throughout the story. I also enjoyed Eden’s relationship with her boyfriend Connor. It was refreshing to read about a teen relationship that wasn’t portrayed in a toxic way and I liked how there was a huge emphasis on not being pressured to have a sexual relationship, instead just enjoying one another’s presence. The fact that Connor was a carer for his mother was also an interesting feature in Goodbye Perfect and I wish this was something that was explored a little more, as it’s very rarely covered in YA books. I loved both Eden and Connor as characters, and it portrayed a realistic relationship, as well as covering all the general stress of school and family life.
However, what I wasn’t a huge fan of was the plot itself. I don’t particularly enjoy teacher-student relationships anyway because they’re often very cliche, but I felt that it sometimes fell a little flat. The first 20% and the last 20% of the book I really enjoyed, but in the middle half, I feel as if nothing much happened (we’re talking 200 pages ish). There was a huge focus on the should I or shouldn’t I tell about about Bonnie running away with Jack (their music teacher), which I felt got a little repetitive. I would have loved the story to cover some more of the aspects I liked above in more detail here, and feel it was a missed opportunity to make an ‘okay’ book, become ‘fantastic’.
I really like Sara Barnard’s work and loved her other two books, but this fell a little flat for me, I LOVED the characters and the writing was perfect as usual, but I wished *something* else happened in the plot, perhaps a further sub-plot of some kind exploring Eden’s relationships some more. I would definitely recommend Beautiful Broken Things and A Quiet Kind Of Thunder, and perhaps this book if you were really intrigued in the sound of the plot, because the characters themselves are brilliant.