on May 9th 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Coming of Age, General, Romance, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Adaptations
Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is settling in for the worst summer on record. After she’s unfairly implicated in one of her best friend’s ideas gone awry, Tatum’s stepmother places her under virtual house arrest. But to Tatum’s surprise, her summer doesn’t turn out to be all bad. And things really begin to look up when she starts her own graphic design business and meets a cello-playing client, Seamus. If Tatum is reading his emails right, Seamus is funny, smart, and talented—and he seems to think the same about her. Too bad he's spending his summer across the ocean in Ireland…not that Tatum would be allowed to go on a date anyway.
But over the course of the summer, Tatum will learn that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules. In the process, she’ll discover things about her friends, her family, and herself that she never could have guessed. And when Seamus turns out to be closer than she thought, she might just get a perfect kiss in the bargain.
A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s It Started with Good-bye will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer E. Smith.
It’s been ages since I’ve read a good young adult contemporary novel. I’ve had It Started With Goodbye on my wishlist for ages so I was super, super excited when my wish was granted on Netgalley. So excited that I had to start reading it right away! It took me a bit to get into It Started With Goodbye, but it turned out to be an incredible read. What I struggled with at first was how harsh Tatum’s dad (whose name is never mentioned?) and step-mother Belén react to her being arrested, which may sound bad, but Tatum didn’t actually do anything wrong. And I kind of don’t understand how it got to the point of her paying a $500 fine and to do community service, because SHE DIDN’T DO ANYTHING! She wasn’t an accomplice or anything, she was literally the innocent driver but what do I know about American law? The whole punishment thing, though, just seemed like an exaggeration so much like Tatum, I was aggrieved for the first portion of the novel, because it was like being punished for nothing. (Actually the whole plot would have made more sense to me if I knew it was a modern day Cinderella – I didn’t see that in the description til just now, but if I’d known, I’d have had more perspective.)
However, I liked how it brought Tatum and her family closer together. So there very much was a moral at the end of this story, and Blanche was very much the kickstarter to that, seeming to know just when Tatum needed a push in the right direction, to do the right thing. I actually really liked Tatum, considering she could have just gone off the deep end, and refused to do anything Belén said, she wasn’t actually a bad kid. Yes, she rebelled a bit (deserved, actually) but she was hardly a career bloody criminal, y’know, so it was all entirely justified.
My favourite part of the book, though? Tatum’s secret graphic design business and the absolutely swoon-worthy subplot with the mysterious SK. Did I know who SK was right at the start? Yes. Did I care one jot that Tatum was oblivious? HECK NO. Because it was delightful. Pulling off flirty via email is hard, but Christina June nailed it. I felt everything Tatum and SK were saying to each other, and their spark was visible just via email. It made my heart sing and want to burst with happiness all at the same time. I’ve been desperate for a good romance and this one was A+++++++++++++++++. Yes, that is a lot of pluses but that’s just how I felt OK? *Heart explodes*
I genuinely loved It Started With Goodbye. It was such a nuanced read, but it also read really light, as if you were just floating through the pages. I have no idea if that even makes sense, but the book never got me down, despite everything, despite Tatum basically being on house arrest for much of the novel. Christina June is a fantastic new talent to the world of YA and I’m incredibly excited that it appears that her second book will feature Tilly as the main character – HUZZAH! PLUS that could mean more Tatum, and I’m *SO* on board for that.