Title: It Started with Goodbye
Author: Christina June
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Published On: May 9th 2017
Source: Netgalley - Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.
It Started with Goodbye is CUTE! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I love that its a modern take on the Cinderella fairy tale. However, I felt like it was lacking a bit in terms of depth.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful story that has a some awesome characters. WHO HAVE FUN HOBBIES. AND A CUTE SHIP. I just kept expecting there to be some greater level of meaning at some point, but there wasn’t. That’s okay, though. Here’s a list of the things I loved about It Started with Goodbye:
Tatum, our main character, is a graphic designer! How awesome is that?! I feel like most books that I read have characters with pretty typical hobbies (like journaling, writing, photography). Which isn’t bad, but it gets repetitive. So the hobbies in It Started with Goodbye were refreshing and exciting. Tatum’s stepsister, Tilly, (who is NOT ugly or evil, by the way) loves dancing. And June actually goes into detail at times to give us some insight into that aspect of her life. And the cute boy who Tatum is emailing? He’s a musician!
OKAY! So first let me say that Tatum’s parents are SUPER annoying throughout 75% of the book. But they mean well, so we can forgive them. Maybe it’s just me and my personal experiences, but I felt like her parents were unrealistically strict and completely misunderstood the situation that Tatum was in.
I mean, sure, Tatum could have been in much worse danger because she allowed her best friend to bring her sketchy boyfriend along with them, but they were punishing Tatum for what could’ve happened instead of what actually happened. Which is really unfair. They could have found alternative ways to teach her that lesson. Besides, we as readers know that Tatum understands the lesson and acknowledges what she did wrong. Which made her parents’ reactions so much more annoying. They all just needed to communicate better.
BUT, as the book comes to its turning point Tatum becomes closer to her stepsister and step-grandmother. And she begins to understand and value her stepmother’s decisions as ones that are well-intended, although sometimes unbearable. It Started with Goodbye really highlights the importance of understanding, communicating, and appreciating your family, no matter what. I loved that.
Blanche is the fairy godmother in this Cinderella modernization, but she deserved MUCH more of a role than she got, I think. She was absolutely the best character in the book, yet I felt like she a bit underdeveloped as a character. Like she was a plot device to get Tatum’s story where it needed to go. But it didn’t feel completely authentic.
However, the parts we do get with Blanche are a thousand times better simply because she’s in it. She has sass, but, like, classy sass. If that’s a thing.
This book is a wonderful take on the Cinderella story, but it’s a bit more than just a retelling, too. Some parts of the story felt lacking (particularly Blanche’s development) and the plot felt a bit unrealistic at times. But it is a fairy tale spin, so how realistic should it be?
The relationships in this book are lovely and will make you smile. This is a cute, fast summer read that really emphasizes the importance of friends and family!