YA Review: Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard

I’ve read all three of Sara Barnard’s books and Goodbye, Perfect is by far my favourite. Telling the story of a fifteen year old girl who runs away with her grown-up teacher, it’s an affecting amd compelling read which quickly grabbed my attention and didn’t let go till the end (and actually I finished it last night and am still mulling over it, so it’s still got me even now). 

Using the perspective of runaway Bonnie’s best friend, Eden, is a clever way for Barbard to tell the story without making the reader unduly uncomfortable – I don’t know how anybody else would feel but, particularly as both a mum to a young girl and also as a teacher, Bonnie’s PoV would have been a bit too icky for me. I really liked Eden’s narrative voice; she’s a very convincing teen narrator with just the right amount of snark. Her own complicated background adds to the main plot without overtaking it: adopted as a child, Eden has been off the rails before but Goodbye, Perfect shows her to be impressively well-adjusted. I appreciated how Barnard uses Eden’s history tp justify her feelings but doesn’t let it distract from how Eden responds to her best friend running off with their music teacher. Hopefully, most readers will sternly question  the decisions Eden makes out of misguided loyalty to Bonnie, but, while I disagreed with what she was doing, Barnard makes her reasons for doing so very convincing.

There’s so much about Goodbye, Perfect that I enjoyed. I spend a lot of time with teenagers at school and so much of the dialogue and narrative sounded completely authentic to me. As usual, Barnard presents complex, intriguing, realistic friendships, involved and real-sounding parents and characters you will genuinely care about. Each of her books is better than the last and it makes me really look forward to her next one. I will be recommending this loudly and persuasively in 2018.

Review to be posted on blog on release day.

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