Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Release date: September 1st 2015
Pages: 246
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: NetGalley - I received a free eGalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
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On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have only one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they 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 leads them to family and friends, 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?
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Jennifer E. Smith's books are reliably fluffy romances - they're never too deep, and the character development and writing aren't the best, to be honest, but they're always fun, and Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is no exception. 

I really like the premise of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. I love when YA books are set in that in-between-space after graduating high school and leaving for college, and the situation in this book is definitely relatable. I found myself looking back on myself right before leaving for college, and also relating Clare's transitions back to my current transition, having just graduated college and heading off to grad school in the fall (especially because me and Clare will be going to the same school!). I also love the premise of a couple deciding whether or not to stay together - in comparison to all the books with drama about a couple trying to get together that end at the "happily ever after," it's refreshing to read a book that actually explores what happens after.

I've read some reviews that were annoyed by Clare's indecisiveness and complained that she spent the whole book going back and forth between breaking up and staying together. But I didn't mind that at all because, well, wasn't that the point of the book? I understood Clare's indecisiveness; it makes sense to struggle with this when you consider that that Clare and Aidan love each other but that Clare is very practical about how hard it would be to sustain a long-distance relationship as freshmen in college. I also love how Jennifer E. Smith decided to resolve this issue; I was scared that, this being a romance(-y) novel, the ending would be cliched and overly happy, ignoring the reality of the situation and making the whole book kind of pointless. But the way she decided to end this book works perfectly; it'll satisfy readers who want a happy ending without being too dramatic or unrealistic.

To be fair, this book isn't perfect. Like I said earlier, Jennifer E. Smith's writing and characters aren't always the strongest, and I found the characters in Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between to be a little underdeveloped. It's not that any of the characters are bad, necessarily; they're just nothing special. Clare is the typical studious YA MC, and Aidan is the typical jock that turns out to be a sweetheart. The secondary characters, like their friends Scotty and Stella and their parents, are also relatively typical with no unpredictable developments. But, as usual in Jennifer E. Smith's books, I didn't really mind this, because it's a fun, fluffy read nonetheless.

If you're looking for depth, unique characters, or stunning writing, Jennifer E. Smith's books probably aren't for you. But if you're in the mood for a fun, fluffy story that you can finish in a couple of hours, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between, just like the author's author books, is perfect for you.


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