Book Review: Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard
Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.
Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.
As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.
I received an arc of Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard from Pan Macmillian in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about the book.
There are going to be some spoilers in this book review. It’s really hard to talk about Goodbye, Perfect without spoiling certain themes.
I hadn’t picked up a book from Sara Barnard before I read Goodbye, Perfect but now I am intrigued. I have a love/dislike relationship with this book. For the most part, I really enjoyed the book, but then there were parts that just didn’t sit well with me.
Goodbye, Perfect follows Eden who thought her life was going pretty well and then her best friend runs away. 5 Days before GCSEs Bonnie runs away with a boyfriend that no one knew about – one that shouldn’t be her boyfriend, their music teacher Mr Cohn. And Eden is the only one that knows of Bonnie’s location With the police and Bonnie’s family burning questions down her back – will she tell where Bonnie is or will she kill is a secret.
Eden was a pretty easy character to get along with. While it was hard to know why she hides things about Bonnie’s location, I can understand why. Eden is 15/16 and at that age, your friends are your life. It’s how you survive high school a lot of the time. Throughout Goodbye, Perfect the reader is able to see the struggle that Edge goes through holding in all these secrets. What makes it worse is that Bonnie’s lies keep on piling up and I think that puts a lot of pressure on Eden as well.
Goodbye, Perfect deals with the theme of student/teacher relationship. And it has a very honest outlook on the situation, but also very scary. Throughout the novel, the reader is able to see that Bonnie believes that she loves Mr Cohn. And nevertheless will do anything for him. There is also the fact that Mr Cohn also believes he loves Bonnie. But doesn’t realise what he is doing is wrong. Maybe. If Bonnie was over 18, and Mr Cohn wasn’t her teacher. I wouldn’t give a damn about the age gap – however being in the position of power is a whole new level.
Family was another massive theme of Goodbye, Perfect. Eden has a pretty good support system. Eden and her little sister are adopted, and they have pretty amazing parents. You don’t see that much in the novel, adoptive families that are great, so it was nice to see. Even though Eden has a rocky relationship with her older sisters, it was great to see them bond. It was nice seeing them getting to both know and understand each other. Eden boyfriend was also adorable! Them two together just melted my heart. While their relationship didn’t take over the book. It was there and he not only supported Eden but was just there for her.
Goodbye, Perfect also deals with growing up and trying to find your place in the world. I loved seeing Eden be a normal teenager; struggling with where she fits in. I liked that Eden wasn’t ‘smart,’ I loved seeing her study and not fit into the ‘norm’ of young adult students. I thought it was brilliant that she failed and had to try again – it made her that more real.
Overall, Goodbye, Perfect was a hard read. It explores family, friendship and doing what’s right. Eden struggles with the boundaries of friendship and how secrets can hurt a lot of people around it. Goodbye, Perfect is an emotional read that pushed characters to their limits. If you are looking for an intense and emotional read then this one is for you.