Blog Tour: Goodbye, Perfect

Goodbye, Perfect
Written by Sara Barnard
Contemporary, Young Adult
Published January 1st 2018
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia
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★★★
When I was wild, you were steady...

Now you are wild, what am I?

Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.

Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.

As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.
Sixteen year old Eden Rose McKinley had a precarious transition from childhood to adolescence, her narcotics dependent mother unable to provide for her children, placing Eden and Daisy into foster care, adopted by nurturing Carolyn and Bob McKinley. Although Eden has transitioned from difficult child to destructive adolescent and now discourteous young woman, Bonnie Wiston Stanley is an astute young woman. The authorities are demanding answers, where is Bonnie and why did she escape the confines of her life?

Bonnie is involved in an illicit sexual relationship with Jack Cohen, a member of the teaching facility, now absconding and evading authorities. The nonlinear narrative centers on Eden, the friend and confidant Bonnie has embroiled in her precarious circumstances. While the authorities continue to investigate Jack Cohen, Eden and Bonnie covertly communicate through messages, Bonnie insisting their four month relationship is consensual.

A friend coerced by a paedophile is confronting and distressing and Eden was determined to disregard the severity of the authoritative adult and adolescent sexual relationship. Contemplating her interactions with Bonnie during the illicit relationship, Eden concedes that Bonnie appeared despondent and burdened by ambition, unusual for the perceptive and accomplished student. Bonnie claimed she was in a relationship that Eden assumed was fabricated. 

Jack Cohen is accountable for the manipulation and coercion of a minor, using his authority to segregate a vulnerable adolescent. Bonnie was abandoned by the faculty, previously informed of the inappropriate relationships with female students and Bonnie's parents, unable to recognise the behavioural changes in their daughter.

Eden continued to deliberate whether to disclose Bonnie's location, seemingly only concerned with her own consequences rather than Bonnie's safety. Her character was insufferable and abrasive.  Despite her dishonesty, Eden continues to conceal information from the authorities. 

Goodbye, Perfect is an important discussion surrounding boundaries by an adult in a position of authority, coercion and consent. Unfortunately the narrative is monotonous and frustrating, aggravated by indecision, inadequate character realisation and an unsatisfying conclusion.

23 comments

  1. I love the synopsis for this! Do you betray your ever-reliable best friend when she runs away with the Music Teacher?! The answer: YES. YES, YOU ABSOLUTELY DO. Eden should have immediately told the police, her parents, SOMEONE where Bonnie was. She admitted her friend seemed a little off, so why did she think that?? Ugh, and an "insufferable and abrasive" character is the worst. I can see how her narrative would have been frustrating! And an unsatisfying conclusion? I feel like this story should only end one way...

    Lovely review! I feel frustrated for you and I haven't even read this, lol.

    Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. Even if you were hesitant, eventually you would have thought so. She confided in her boyfriend eventually but she was only insistent on protecting her friendship with Bonnie, rather than her safety. I loved flawed characters but she barely communicated in anything other than shrugs. I never had a sense of who she was besides someone who kept the secret for her own interests.

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    2. That sounds so frustrating. I'm glad she confided in her boyfriend, but I don't think he was probably the best decision on her part. Bonnie's safety and well-being should have surpassed all selfish thoughts of friendship.

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  2. another confronting book, you sure know how to pick them. I know that Eden should have ratted her friend out, but when you have no one else caring for you like Bonnie does, loyalty is first. I understand Eden's pain, but I guess in the end did she make the right choice is the main question

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    1. That's the issue, there really wasn't a learning curve. There was no realisation that the student teacher relationship was an abuse of trust, even for Bonnie.

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  3. It sounds thought-provoking and I'm glad its out there. The teenage years are so difficult.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It's a confronting and frustrating read that's for sure.

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  4. This is definitely an important topic for a book, but it does seem like Eden would be really frustrating. I get wanting to help a friend or worrying about consequences, etc. but if you KNOW this is a bad relationship or not something Bonnie should be involved in - then you tell someone.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kelly!!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I was saddened that Bonnie confided in her that she had a secret boyfriend but rather than wonder why she was being secretive, Eden assumed she created him because she was feeling jealous or neglected. It makes you question if they were actually as close as what the narrative implies.

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  5. Dear God, I had a similar experience growing up. Had a best friend, she was involved with the young gym teacher, we were only 14, I was sworn to secrecy. Looking back, I am so angry with myself for not saying anything. He was caught with another minor years later and sentenced to jail. I have to read this.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review

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    1. This is art imitating life Rebecca. That must have been horrible to be put in that position at that age. Although there is no narrative from Bonnie, it might be a good idea to proceed with caution as you might find it incredibly confronting. I would love to see what you think of it especially having been placed in that position. Thank you for sharing your story Rebecca.

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  6. It's so important to tackle these subjects so it's too bad that this one didn't work out in the way you hoped Kelly.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. It is but unfortunately it needed consequences and a point of growth for both Eden and Bonnie. It felt unresolved.

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  7. wow another book dealing with a difficult topics I think I would have a bit of a hard time with this one, being a mother and all, but it still seems a bit important. Hope it was at least done well enough

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    1. I think most adult readers of young adult could find this one difficult to read, especially if you have children. I enjoyed the writing but it was too repetitive unfortunately.

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  8. oh goodness, what a powerful storyline, but poor execution. this is coming up on my TBR soon too.

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    1. Ooh really looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

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  9. Eden sounds like a pain in the ass. The circumstances are definitely tough, but it's always important to look at the bigger picture, and to think about the consequences in the long-run. I love the different POV, but it doesn't matter if being in Eden's mind is boring and frustrating. Sorry you didn't like this one more. :(

    - Aimee @ Aimee, Always

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    1. She was most definitely flawed as a character.and I enjoyed that aspect but she refused to communicate with adults or the authorities. Just constantly shrugging. When a book relies on dialogue to further the narrative, it was just too damn frustrating.

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  10. Wow this is so different than the cute fluffy book I just read by her, A Quiet Kind of Thunder. I definitely can see how there's probably a lot of indecisiveness going on, especially on Eden's part. I don't think this is my kind of book to be honest, so I'll probably pass. Hope your next read is better Kelly!!! Loved your review :D :D

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    1. Her books have been a hit or miss for me but this one sits somewhere in between. It's a page turner but it felt so unresolved and left me feeling disappointed. It would definitely be a difficult narrative to write.

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  11. It's a shame this didn't work for you 100%, but this book still sounds intriguing nonetheless! <3

    Charlotte | https://charlotteidek.com

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    1. It truly is Charlotte, just incredibly frustrating. I'm looking forward to seeing reviews from other readers to see how they've faired.

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