Goodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard

9781509852864Goodbye, Perfect tells the story of Eden, whose 15 year old best friend Bonnie has run away with a man. And not just any man; their Music teacher Mr Cohn. This is the first YA book I’ve read in 2018 and I actually loved it. I have to admit that it’s not something that I would normally have picked up myself, but a friend gave me the advise that it’s like Me and Mr J by Rachel McIntyre, which I also loved.

I really like the idea of the position that Barnard has put her main character, Eden, in. The focus of the book isn’t actually about what Bonnie has done, but about the impact that it has on those left behind, and the moral and legal arguments that surround it. I think the unbiased presentation of every side of the argument is very clever and demands empathy.

The story is mostly told through Eden’s first person narration, but there are visual conversations between her and Bonnie over text that just felt spot on. The book is split in to ‘days missing’ and has newspaper articles at the beginning of each chapter that sheds light on what society as a whole thinks about the situation too. This, along with the reflection on previous conversations that have taken on new meaning to Eden, keeps the pace of the story moving quickly.

The more I read the more I was thrown back to my teenage years, how you feel that you’re an adult because your own body and the world are basically telling you are. Even school is preparing you to be one. Except you don’t realise or understand the emotional responsibility that comes with that until you actually are an adult. I connected with the story instantly and felt a real nostalgia for the fierce loyalty and love I had for my best friend. I understood how I would have felt if she had run away too (I’d have told straight away, just for the record, I wouldn’t have been able to live with the guilt).

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Me And Mr J – Rachel McIntyre

512fcn0cb0l-_sx324_bo1204203200_I really loved this book! It’s a brilliant story that shows the isolation that some children feel, and the way they become vulnerable to those who are in a position of power. There is the saying that it takes a village to raise a child and I think that shows here, if every adult in Lara’s life had taken an interest in her in a responsible way then it should never have come to her putting her emotions into an unhealthy attraction.

I felt the issue was dealt with really well, and the ending was the only way it could have ended – it’s a good lesson for those who think that crushes on teachers always stay innocent. I think it deals with the ‘he loves me and age doesn’t matter’ vs. the ‘she led me on even though she’s a child’ scenario really well and seeing it only through Lara’s eyes makes it all the more devastating; I constantly wanted to scream at Mr. Jagger!

It puts forward all of the debates and arguments about bullying and its emotional effects, but also how the modern world affects the choices teenagers feel they have about solving them because of what they see in the media.

It’s a controversial read, but very compelling.

Reviewed for Electric Monkey