I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Sparkpress on May 3rd 2016
Format: eARC (312 pages) • Source: TLC Book Tours
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Melanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated facade of her life. Will and his wife are fine as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class).
Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple s second act together empty nesting is often actually the end."
When I saw the summary for this one, I knew I wanted to partake in the blog tour. I’m always fascinated by stories like this for some reason. The idea of multiple people and points of view – both the parents and kids – intrigued me. The slice-of-life style always ends up on my TBR because I think it’s really interesting to see how people live their daily lives.
Summary in a Second
A bunch of parents and their senior year students are gearing up for the final year of high school. Each family has some major familial and relationship issues. The story follows all of them through the first half of their senior year as they try to work through their problems and other craaaazy things happen to them.
Storytelling & Setting
The story takes place in Crystal Cove, California, which is described as an upscale down with lots of gated communities. It sounded like it could have been a setting for a series of Real Housewives, so I was definitely excited about that! I love reading about smaller communities – whether they’re rich ones or just average – because you can really feel how everyone knows each other. That’s absolutely key in this story.
About those Characters
Melanie, Keith, Seth, and Dane: Melanie has been dealing with her slacker son, Dane, now that her oldest, Seth, is off at college. She copes by drinking a little too much and is trying to get the lives of her family members back on track. Keith is really just trying to help Melanie focus on herself more and understand that Dane is different than Seth.
Sarah, Jud, and Ashley: Jud is a well-known plastic surgeon and Sarah has essentially become his “brand” by giving her countless procedures to look perfect. Ashley, their apparently perfect overachieving daughter, is a senior at the high school. Ashley is stressed about her life and relationship with Jud as he frequently travels everywhere for work.
Carol, Will, Marni, and Piper: Will is cheating on his wife, Carol, with Lauren. Carol is apparently quite overbearing with her color-coded schedule and demanding nature, but Will seeking other partners outside of the marriage is not okay of course. The daughters aren’t really in the story as much as the parents are.
David, Lauren, and Kiley: Lauren is with Will on the side after breaking up David’s first marriage. He’s rich and owns a car dealership. Their daughter is an interesting character who definitely knows how to play her parents and everyone around her.
Zoe and Collin: Zoe is a single, bohemian, flighty mom who is trying to raise Collin. Collin has some issues with how she parents and her boyfriend.
So, What’s the Problem?
I do love multi-POV books, but it was hard to get on board with SO many different people. All of the characters above, minus a few, had sections in the book. It was definitely easy to remember who was talking WHILE they were talking, but it was hard to differentiate as a whole. A lot of the voices sounded similar and it was hard to figure out legitimate personalities between some of the characters.
Looking back on the story, aside from some of the main events that were crazy twists, it really feels just like a slice-of-life story with not as much plot. You definitely don’t notice this as you’re reading though because it’s so easy to just keep flipping the pages until you get to the end.
I won’t spoil specifics, but some absolutely crazy things happen in each family and in the school. I did predict one thing but the others definitely surprised me. I was mostly happy with how certain things wrapped up in the end because some people got what was coming to them and others got happy endings. It wasn’t perfect, but it was appropriate for many of them.
If you’re looking for a book with a lot of messed up, imperfect characters, that will have you turning the pages rapidly until the story is over – give this book a shot for sure. The small community of Crystal Cove featured such interesting relationships and events over that year that there’s something everyone would find interesting.
About the Author
Learn about Kaira here!