Goodbye, Perfect, released earlier this month, is Sara Barnard's latest contemporary YA novel. The novel tells the story of Eden, who is about to start her GCSEs. Her best friend Bonnie, who usually is sensible and a straight-A student, runs off with her older boyfriend (who turns about to be her 30-year-old music teacher, I know, gross). Bonnie knows exactly with her best-friend is, but remains loyal to her despite police involvement in tracking Bonnie down.
Goodbye, Perfect is a heavy novel, particularly its feature of the student-teacher relationship. I thought the author did a great job in the representation of the relationship, as I didn't get any romantic vibes from it. It came across just as it should of — an adult inappropriately grooming a child without the child's knowledge of the situation. There are too many fictional books and other mediums that will romanticise these sorts of relationships, so I'm glad Goodbye, Perfect instead reflected on the dangers of this. I'm sure there are many teens out there who have had a crush on one of their teachers, but ultimately, any romantic relationship between a teacher and student is an abuse of power.
Another shining light of Goodbye Perfect is the complexity of Sara Barnard's characters. Though many people may have problems with the fact that Eden lied to the police as well as Bonnie's parents, keep in mind that Eden is a teen. For herself (and most children and teens) having your best friend's trust is a big deal. I enjoyed watching Eden evolve as the book progressed. There were times when I wanted to scream at her to say something, however, it's important to keep in mind that I'm now 25. There's a good chance that if 15 or 16 year-old-me was in the same situation, I would have been the same as Eden. The author's portrayal of Eden's relationship with her boyfriend was also great, and a great example of a real teenage relationship.
Reading Sara Barnard's Goodbye, Perfect felt like being on an emotional rollercoaster. But it's rollercoaster that I would gladly ride again.
This review is part of the blog tour for Goodbye, Perfect. My participation in the tour in no way effects my view of the book.