Book Review: It Started With Goodbye #Tuesdaybookblog

Netgalley, if you don’t use it, is a fantastic tool for readers and writers alike. It’s provided me the opportunity to both read my genre and wider, for free, in exchange for a review. You can review on Amazon/Goodreads or as a blogger.

Obviously, you can then (for a price) put your own books on there.

This week I’m reviewing It Started With Goodbye, by Christina June. A good little novel about a girl who got accused of a crime. It then details her summer of penance.


Amazon Blurb

“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. If Tatum is reading his emails right, her virtual Prince Charming is funny, smart, and talented-and he seems to think the same about her. Too bad he’s spending his summer across the ocean in Ireland…not that Tatum would be allowed to go on a date anyway. But over the course of the summer, Tatum will learn that sometimes going after what you want means breaking all the rules. And 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. A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer E. Smith.”

Released 15th June 2017 buy it from AmazonCOM, AmazonUK

Image from Amazon

My Review

I wish I had read the blurb properly and in full because it would have alerted me to the fact that this has an HEA. For those of you that don’t know what an HEA is, it’s:

Happily Ever After Ending.


For me Happily Ever After (HEA) endings are a bit too twee. In romance, they can work. But for my personal preference, I prefer for the hero to at least come out with some wound, no matter how small.

In a way, this book had the reverse. It started out with the protagonist Tate, having been caught up in something illegal, but (and minor spoiler here) it’s obvious from the outset that she didn’t do it.

The thrust of the story is her summer spent doing community service and building a business.

There isn’t much plot. Not a lot goes on, and it’s very family centric. So it felt a little flat to me. It also has an extremely happy ending.


Despite that, I actually REALLY liked the main character, right up to the point she caved. I loved her in the first 85% of this book, her rebellion, her determination, her mindset. It was fantastic. But she basically rolls over and apologises when she didn’t do anything wrong. So it was a very hard pill for me to swallow that she understood the situation from her parents perspective. I’m a parent… and I didn’t. They over reacted.


This is ultimately a romance story. Have to say, I loved the romance between the two characters. The mystery lover boy wasn’t much of a reveal to me, it was blatantly obvious from the start, but perhaps that is because I am an adult reading a young adult’s novel. Despite it not being much of a reveal, I really did adore the romance, it was beautiful and funny and I laughed several times in the story.


The characters are great, June nailed them, the romance also made me smile, and at times the story made me laugh out loud. For me, the ending could have been tweaked a fraction to make it a smidge more grounded, and I would have liked a little more up and down tension in the plot. But overall an enjoyable read, nice and quick too if you fancy an easy read one evening.

My thanks to Netgalley and Zonderkidz Books for an advanced copy.

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  1. Totally agree. No stakes, no story. No consequences, no protagonist progression. Writing, as life, has to be a “wants, settles, gets,” game. When I was 15, I wanted a Harley Davidson Fatboy, I would’ve “settled” for a Triumph T140, I got a wrung-out, 1980 POS Honda 750. Great review, btw. When I finally publish, (and return the publisher’s kidnapped loved ones) I know who’s review I’ll covet.

    1. Glad you agree my lovely, and I’m sorry it’s taken four years to reply, I stopped everything to finish a manuscript. AT LAST 13 Steps to Evil is with the editor 😀 lol, to coveting a review <3 <3 <3 big love

  2. My guess is that the reason she had this HEA ending is because her agent and editor told her that in this genre where teens are the majority of readers, they want an HEA. I checked the author’s Amazon page and she has another novel from Harper Collins coming out soon. That means she probably signed a multiple book contract. It sounds like a sequel to this book. Maybe in the sequel, the HEA takes a wild turn to not so much HEA.

    I wonder if the formula for YA novels like this one says that endings should be HEA. What do you think? I can’t write to a formula that major publishers often live by.

    1. I know that agents and publishers constantly try and change what authors want to have as their storylines – one of the reasons I ain’t interested. But I’m not convinced that YA’s want HEA’s in fact I don’t think they do. I think they want bittersweet endings where the hero wins but not before he’s wounded or had to sacrifice something to get there.

  3. You are fair whizzing through these books, Sacha! Don’t know how you find the time. How many’s that this year, already???

    I’m not sure about Netgalley being good for Indie authors, though… we can speak about that somewhere else! ?

    1. well I massively slowed down! basically read a ton in Jan and nothing since! fail. Think I’m on about 12 this year or something, also letting this site go dormant while I try and figure out what I really want to do with it… hmmmm

      1. Well 12 is more than most people read in a year, so its pretty good going. You are frantically busy right now, but you will get back into it when things settle a bit.

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