by Leslie Connor
Published by Katherine Tegen Books Release date : June 24th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, Family, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher | Format: eARC
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) • Audible • The Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.
But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.
Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.
When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.
Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.
I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Things You Kiss Goodbye took me by surprise. I didn’t have high expectations, and overall, I really enjoyed it. Sure, I had my issues with it and the pacing was sub par, but this book really stuck a nerve, emotionally. But I will admit, this isn’t for everyone.
I fell like this book is hard to summarize, especially since I felt that the blurb doesn’t do it justice. There is a lot else that happens in the novel, and it’s hard to discuss a few without spoilers.
Consider yourself warned.
Bettina was such a hard character to relate to. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t empathize, or didn’t “like her.” Her life is so difficult, it just breaks my heart. There are several things in her life that I personally have never had to deal with (and some I have), and there are several things she shouldn’t have had to deal with. Especially all at once.
What I can say I appreciated about her character was it was real. She did a lot of growing up in the span between the pages. Do I begrudge some of her choices? Yes. Do I think she was naive? Yes. Was it realistic, based on the things she went through? YES.
Her relationship with Brady was sweet at first, but it becomes apparent right off that things wont stay that way and there is a drastic change in his demeanor. This is something I didn’t understand, was how much and quickly he changed. But I don’t have to. It wasn’t OKAY what he did, and his excuses are worthless to me. Now, the slow build up of her relationship with Cowboy? That was sweet. It’s a forbidden one, and one that I can see others have issues with. I guess with everything else going on, it didn’t bother me. Although, a part of me feels like it should have.
I think one of the biggest impacts of my overall investment of the story was the lack of depth to each sub-plot. There was many things going on in The Things You Kiss Goodbye – from domestic abuse, to infidelity, controlling parents and bullying. Not to mention, the forbidden relationship that might leave a bitter taste with a few readers. With so much going on, I never really felt I had closure to anything. Nor was never any one thing the main focused on.
There was one part of the story that had me in tears, and I think that was because it was so far off from where I was expecting things to go. It really shocked me, and seeing the fall out and chain of events after the fact was devastating and hard for me to read.
Lastly, I was cheering my heart out when Bettina finally said something, albeit vague, to someone about Brady. Go you girl.
My Peeve –
Besides the few things I mentioned above, the pacing was really slow. Looking back I can see the importance of some scenes, but at the time, I was bored almost to tears.
I really liked it. I do think this is a hit or miss for others, and since it does have so many touchy subjects in one novel, there is some for some disconnect. For me? The characters made it worth it.
Eh. Yes. But I say this with hesitation.