Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between

First Lines: When Aidan opens the door, Clare rises on her tiptoes to kiss him, and for a moment, it feels like any other night.

Even though I’ve really never loved any of her books, I still find myself always grabbing the newest Jennifer E. Smith books.  I don’t really know why, except for the fact that they always sound interesting.  And I wanted to see how this one would go.

After months of trying to ignore it, Clare and Aidan can no longer pretend: tonight is their last night together before they leave for college.  Now, they have to decide whether they’re going to break up or stay together.  Over the course of twelve hours, they travel through town to some of their favorite places in an attempt to help make their decision.  First dates, friends, family, and a few surprising moments along the way create their final night.  But as time runs out, their goodbye looms in front of them.  Is this goodbye forever…or just for now?

This one didn’t break the mold from what Smith usually writes.  It’s sweet and cute and has interesting characters and is emotional at times, but there’s really nothing about it that jumps out at me as being spectacular and unforgettable.

I will say that this book, far more than any other of hers, was the easiest to relate to.  Because I remember what that was like, knowing I was going to be leaving my hometown, my family, and my friends for college.  I remember how upset I was, but also how excited.  And those feelings were loud echoes with this book.  (That wasn’t exactly a welcome feeling, considering it also dredged up thoughts of an ex-boyfriend.)

Even after this whole book, I don’t feel like I know Clare well as a character, and she’s our narrator!  I feel like I know Aidan, easily.  She describes him and moons over him for ages.  But Clare is pretty generic, your normal average girl.  I don’t know if this was done intentionally to make it easier for us to relate to her or if it’s an oversight/something on my end.  I just never felt like I connected with her because she was so generic.

I’ve kind of alluded to this already, but this isn’t a sweet romance, if that’s what you’re looking for.  It is cute and has moments of sweetness, but the whole plot of the book is whether they’re going to break up or not.  That doesn’t exactly inspire feelings of sweetness.  There’s a lot of sadness, and that can be challenging for me to get through, especially when it feels like the whole book is filled with it.

Overall, it is a cute book, but be prepared to be sad too.

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