Books, YA Fiction

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


2-3 Stars

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

Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.

I’m not sure if there’s any reader who doesn’t know Jennifer E. Smith, known for her so-cute-I-want-to-die YA romance and contemporary novels. I’m a bit late to her work, and this book was exactly what I was expecting… and what I wasn’t expecting.

When I picked up this book, I was definitely in the mood for some fluff, meaning light and entertaining and very, very adorable. It definitely delivered in that department, but I’ll be honest. I was also looking forward to some hardcore musings about relationships, starting over, and just life in general. I don’t know if all of Smith’s books are very fluffy, but I expected a little more depth than usual, since the entire idea of the book is based on love and letting go, which is a subject a lot of young adults (especially when heading to college) experience. I think the layout of the book would have worked more efficiently if the focus was on the broader topics (like college and love in general) instead of solely Aidan and Clare’s relationship. The drama seemed a little forced, and it was almost making a mountain out of a molehill.

Aidan and Clare are pretty solid characters. I wasn’t wholly invested in them, but they had good chemistry together and I enjoyed reading about their struggle. Their relationship was strong and I could definitely feel their attachment to each other, especially towards the end. But, there is an endless amount of problems and feelings you can graze over when it comes to breaking up and love. Since the main and supporting characters (Stella and Scott) both had their own set of problems concerning college and intimacy (like Aidan and his father’s struggle to reach out to each other, as well as Stella and Scott’s relationship), this book would have worked better if Smith looked over young adult struggles in general, maybe even slightly zeroing in on just a few.

Although I enjoyed the drama and cuteness, I would consider Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between full of wasted potential. This novel could have been very eye-opening if it didn’t go down the path of cutesy romances and fluff. I’m sure Smith wanted to write something light and cute, but this kind of topic doesn’t really fit with those words. I would suggest this someone who wants a short and entertaining read.