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First conversation. First kiss. First time being sneezed on. No matter how much time passes, there’s always something about that first love that sticks with you. Reading Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between felt a little like experiencing those firsts all over again – except with a much more heart-warming ending!
For Clare and Aidan, their last night together before moving to separate coasts for college is about one thing only: deciding if they should stay together, despite the miles that separate them; or resigning to the more logical option of parting as friends. Through the night they visit a number of places that marked their ‘firsts’ – from their first kiss, to their first dance, and later, the first place that Clare watched Aidan throw up. As they say goodbye to close friends (including a lake-bound robot named Rusty), and visit their old haunts one last time, they both struggle with coming to terms with the idea of their future apart.
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between is a super-sweet contemporary romance that explores some of the difficult decisions ‘new adults’ struggle with without needless melodrama. The fresh, authentic tone of the story is coupled with prose that reads like a film, and characterisation that jumps off the very first page – though the editor in me does wonder if the tone would have been better suited to a first-person narrative point of view rather than third-person.
Although romance is the primary focus, the cast of secondary characters really make this book. Aidan and Clare’s friends and parents add an emotional depth to the story that intensifies the stakes and adds enough of an element of surprise to keep things interesting, while still keeping that light and fluffy romantic tone. As the night progresses, I couldn’t help but feel the heart-wrenching twists and turns of will-they, won’t-they. A quick, light read, this book isn’t much of a time investment, but still delivers on all of the feels.
Reviewed by Emma Bryson
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between
by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Headline