It Started with Goodbye by Christina June
Young Adult / Contemporary
Published on May 9th, 2017
ARC from Netgalley
| Review |
It Started with Goodbye was a story about a teenager who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and had no one who’d listen to her. I have to say, I found that last part incredibly frustrating. Tatum was a good girl, but her parents wouldn’t give her the benefit of the doubt or listen to her when she tried to tell them she was looking out for her friend. She could have handled the situation with her friends less than stellar boyfriend better, but it wasn’t like there was a teenage handbook for that kind of situation. Her parents were heavy handed with the punishment, and it was terrible that after she was essentially ‘sentenced,’ her father left for eight weeks on a business trip. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but he left Tatum with her step-mother, who she had an already tenuous relationship with. And on top of that, I think it was unfair to his wife to put the burden of enforcing punishment on her. Having said that, those things didn’t make me dislike the story, because I think they were realistic.
One thing I really appreciated was that even though we only got Tatum’s point of view, I didn’t feel like her step-mother, Belén, was always the bad guy. The author did a good job of capturing the sometimes over-dramatic reactions of a teenager, and while I didn’t always agree with Belén’s decisions, I could see why she went the way she did. I really enjoyed the progression of the relationships in this story, particularly with Tatum and her step-sister, Tilly. And I liked that even though Tatum was sentenced to community service, she wasn’t bitter about it. She knew that what she was doing was helpful and took pride in that fact. There was also a cute romantic aspect to this story that didn’t overshadow the bigger picture of Tatum coming to terms with the way she treated people. I liked the mystery and the reveal surrounding it, and the meet-cute was adorable. I do like it when a story explores the talents of a character (though Tilly’s may have been exploited a bit,) because I think we all have something we’re talented at. That Tatum was able to use hers not only to make a little bit of money but as the one thing she had to hold onto while she was being punished was a good message. There’s always a healthy outlet available if we’ll just take the time to explore it. And the valedictions – I loved Tatum’s preoccupation with valedictions!
I do think that everything in this book was resolved in a smack you in the face kind of way and could have used some subtlety, especially abuela, who was brought in as a fairy godmother of sorts. I prefer my YA to have a few loose ends, because I think that’s how life is. It was just too neat of a package for me. Having said that, I found myself finishing It Started with Goodbye with a big, cheesy grin on my face, and very much enjoyed Tatum’s story.
Lots of love,
Angie Elle 😉