Goodbye Stranger By Rebecca Stead

I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.

Goodbye Stranger By Rebecca SteadGoodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Published by Random House on August 4, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Middle Grade

Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody's games--or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade? This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl--as a friend? On Valentine's Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?





I have never read a Rebecca Stead book, but Goodbye Stranger was a fantastic surprise, so I know it won’t be my last book from this author.  The writing was beautiful; it was simple but profound, which is why I think it will appeal to a broad range of readers.  At the center of the story is Bridge, who survived a being hit by a car as a child and now, in junior high, has an existential question hanging over her head; did I survive for a reason?  That question is built upon as the stories start to take shape and each character has to make decisions about the type of person they are and the type of person they want to be. First romance, social media, and trusting your instincts all played a part in building the book’s foundation.   I loved the friendships in Goodbye Stranger. Tab, Bridge and Em are supportive of each other, even if the don’t always agree, and there just isn’t enough of that type of female relationships in books.  I also loved the adults.  While they definitely stayed in the background, they were there and they were not absentee or negligent; they were an influential part in the lives of their kids and I felt their presence in the story, even if they weren’t completely fleshed out as characters,

The goodbyes in this book were more of the transitional variety.  Every character is trying to figure out how to say goodbye to a situation, a friendship, an interaction, or just a way of doing things that isn’t working.  While the characters were young, I could still relate to everything they were going through, and I think you would be hard pressed to find any adult who couldn’t relate this book to things hey have experienced both in adolescence and their adult life.  There are two narratives happening and they eventually intersect, but until they do, the reader is treated to two very engaging and, at times, emotional stories.  I really, really loved the way I came to care about each person in this story and how they eventually found what they were looking for in order to say that special goodbye.  I accepted this book for review a bit skeptical since the characters were younger than the YA I usually read, but I would recommend this heart-warming book to readers of all ages.





About Rebecca Stead

I grew up in New York City, where I was lucky enough to attend the kind of elementary school where a person could sit in a windowsill, or even under a table, and read a book, and no one told you to come out and be serious (well, eventually someone did, but not right away). On those windowsills, under those tables, and in my two beds at night, I fell in love with books. (I had two beds because my parents were divorced.)

Specifically, I fell in love with fiction.


10 responses to “Goodbye Stranger By Rebecca Stead

  1. I am glad you enjoyed this book as well. I thought it was a pretty good MG read and Stead’s writing is outstanding…it’s easy to see why she won the Newbery Award a few years ago. I thought the social media piece of this novel was really strong…I think many tweens can relate to that story line especially. Great review!

  2. Lekeisha The Booknerd

    I may add this one to my MG list. It’s not very long, since I tread carefully when it comes to picking books in this genre. I love the message that this book inspires, so if I don’t get it for myself, my younger cousin would love this. Great review!

  3. I enjoyed this one, too. I personally prefer her books When You Reach Me and Liar and Spy, though these are both closer to middle grade. Both of those books have twists in them that are quite well done, and I felt that this book lacked that–other than the eventual reveal of the unnamed first-person narrator. First Light is probably YA. It reminded me a bit of Gregor the Overlander.

  4. Goodbye Stranger sounds like an excellent read! I actually have it out from the library, so I’m certainly looking forward to getting to it sooner rather than later. I love the way you talk about it, where you mention that it’s like the characters say goodbye to different things – that sounds so interesting to me.

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