Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E Smith

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between  by Jennifer E Smith
Release Date - September 1, 2015
Publisher Website - Hachette/Poppy
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 256 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll 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 will lead them to friends and family, 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?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.
There is a saying that life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. Jennifer E Smith's books always flirt with the idea of fate, chance, and how they apply to both romance, and the decisions we make. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between celebrates the decisions life throws at us, and the unexpected realizations those decisions can lead us to. While this was not my favourite of Jennifer's novels, it is a fantastic addition to her collected works.

This novel is steeped in nostalgia. At least for me, someone removed from the experience of saying goodbye when leaving  for college. There is this perfect storm of excitement, terror, giddiness, sadness, and possibility. You are crushed to leave behind your friends, the familiar routines, places you love, and your family. You're saying goodbye to everything, all that comes along with it. There is even a pang of knowledge that you'll miss your bedroom and that things will be entirely different when you do return. Jennifer E Smith captures this complex emotional time flawlessly. It bubbles up all your fears, at the same time it leaves you dizzy with possibility. There is a bittersweetness to something that is both a beginning and an ending and that is woven into each part of this novel.

The nostalgia factor is only increased by the 'this is your life' style storytelling with a trip down memory lane of their relationship. It's the greatest hits of Clare and Aidan, both the good and the bad. Following them down this path was rewarding as a reader because it felt like we truly got to experience both them falling in love, and the history that came after. One of the shining parts of a Jennifer E Smith story is the little nuances that go into the couples she creates. She creates believable relationship quirks and inside jokes that add another layer to the story and characters and this book was no exception.

The only issue I had was a lack of connection to both the main characters and the secondary characters. All the emotions I felt were due to the feelings the novel brought out in me, rather than what the characters were experiencing. I've connected with her other characters more, and as a result I wasn't as invested in the outcome of their relationship. Their friends and family, while present, were not overly developed either. I am unsure if it was the narration style, or how the novel was paced, but I never fully invested in the story, and that did leave the experience lacking a little bit of emotional connection.

The ending is a much more realistic ending that I had anticipated. It strikes a balance between the importance of learning who you and the idea that love can conquer all. While I won't reveal the ultimate decision that Clare and Aidan come to, I will say that it was an unexpected ending, and much deeper than I thought it would be.

A romance with typical Jennifer E Smith flair. It highlights that things do not necessarily have to be all or nothing - there is a huge range of things in between. Things happen how and when they are supposed to, and that is perhaps the biggest take away from this novel. If you've loved Jennifer's previous books you'll enjoy this fun, thoughtful, romantic read. Those heading off to college, or who have gone through the experience will especially get something out of it.

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