New year, new books. In keeping with tradition, a week-long stay with my best friend produced a co-read book. This year, it was Jennifer E. Smith’s HELLO, GOODBYE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. Unfortunately, it kind of turned out there wasn’t much in between for this book.
- Author: Jennifer E. Smith
- Publisher: Poppy
- Year: 2015
- Genre vibe: Soon-to-be-college kid romance. Small town contemporary.
- At a glance: Clare and Aiden have been together for most of high school. But now real life is looming and they’re facing a tough decision: keep it together, or let each other go. Each side has an equal amount of force behind their particular wish. Can they come together and figure it out?
So I’ll come right out and say it: I’m not totally sure I liked this book. Smith is a strong writer, and I absolutely love her older stuff, so I was super excited when this came out (even though it took forever to get around to reading it).
But in the end I was disappointed, I think. I ended up being very glad that it wasn’t a longer book, because I got the point so easily. And that was the main problem with this book.
Clare and Aiden have to either break up or stay together and try this long-distance thing. There don’t seem to be any other choices. Clare has a whole night planned for them, like a scavenger hunt (don’t let her hear me say that or she’ll get mad for no reason) of Reasons To Break Up.
Aiden on the other hand is optimistic and willing to work for a lasting relationship with her.
I can understand where both of them are coming from. Both sides are presented equally. But honestly? Clare got in their way. She spent half the book jumping all over any of Aiden’s or their other friends’ ideas, just because she was so wound up.
Which I get. But it also got real old, real fast, especially when Aiden doesn’t deserve it, (which he hardly ever does), and even more especially when their friends don’t deserve it (in my opinion, they never do).
In the end, the decision the two of them make is so painfully obvious to me that it kind of ruined the book for me. Again, I understood. But I wanted them to surprise me. I wanted Aiden to compromise, or Clare to finally be accepting, or anything really, besides what actually happened.
If I were as clever as Snifferblog, I’d name this post “Hello, Goodbye, and Nothing In Between”, but this is the only time I’ll be as clever as that dog, so I’ll just leave that awful joke here.
This didn’t ruin anything in relation to Smith for me. Her stuff is still some of the most solid contemporary out there, and I love hearing about her and I plan to re-read a couple of my favorites from her this year. But this was a miss for me, where it’s a major hit for others.
And that’s okay. So overall:
- Rating: 3/5 stars
- Recommended to: People looking for something short and not so sweet with a solid and obvious ending message.
- Lasting Impression: Honestly? Homes. The couch in the basement. The stairs she and Riley sat on. The deck. A clean concrete driveway with a comfortingly familial SUV in it.