Posted in contemporary, review, young adult

Goodbye Perfect – Sara Barnard

“I could lie and say I suspected something, or that it all makes sense now, but I didn’t, and it doesn’t. It just doesn’t make any sense at all.”


Blurb: “Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.”

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

The story follows fifteen year old Eden Rose McKinley who is faced with a dilemma when her best friend, Bonnie, runs off with her boyfriend… who turns out to be their teacher. She is secretly communicating with her friend and lies to the police in order to protect her friend. But lies can only take someone so far.

To say that Goodbye Perfect is an intense read would be an understatement. From the moment Eden first gets in touch with Bonnie after her disappearance, I was willing with everything in me that she would do the right thing. Eden has an unwavering loyalty to her friend and also a naivety that comes with being fifteen years old: Bonnie claims that she “loves” Mr Cohen and Eden doesn’t see any reason to question that. She is aware it’s serious because the police are involved, but doesn’t understand why it requires a police investigation and media frenzy.

The aspect of media frenzy was a perfect opportunity to take a stab at how the media choses to respond in certain scenarios. Bonnie is quickly labelled a “good” girl which Eden, who grew up in a foster home, is  quick to latch on to, explaining how if she was in Bonnie’s position, there would be a much more negative response than to the smiling pictures of her best friend splattered across the front of newspapers.

This book gets straight into the plot and opens with the police arriving at Eden’s house to interview her and the other backstory elements are littered throughout.  This worked well as the lull periods in the investigation were padded out with insights into their friendship and “conversations that took on a different meaning after she left” which really showed how the sign were there, if only Eden had known what to look for.

This story terrified and baffled me in equal measure because I couldn’t believe what I was reading, but then I remembered this is not entirely fictional. There have been many stories like this emerging in the media. It’s really happening. And that made it all the more difficult to stomach.

Goodbye Perfect is an utterly brilliant cat-and-mouse story that tests how far one girl will go to keep a secret.

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A proud Hufflepuff who talks about books and also tries to write them.

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