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.
“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.”
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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