I’ve been scouring the best of the year lists over the past few weeks and my library wish list has grown exponentially. And, in my quest to take a true break this holiday season, I’ve been reading a lot of fiction that I otherwise may not read. So a few days ago I downloaded Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead from my local library. I knew very little about the book other than that it made best of lists, but I dove in.
Recently I’ve found young adult books to be an awesome way to read something that I can read quickly, but usually punches me in the gut with some profound thoughts about life, learning, growing up (which I think I’m still doing), and who we are as people. I always go into the book thinking it will be an easy read, but then I get a sucker punch somewhere along the way. Goodbye Stranger was no exception to this.
It’s a book about three friends, three friends who are making their way through middle school, that time of life fraught with so much self doubt. The twist is that one of them nearly died in a bad car accident about 3 or 4 years previously, so she feels an added burden to figure out why she (Bridge) is alive and there at all. The relationship between the girls brought me right back to middle school and made me think often of the friends I had then and all the stupid things I did.
But for me, it was the family relationships that intrigued me. Bridge has an older brother and in that relationship I saw so much of the way things were with my older brother when I was young. The antagonism, the bickering, but also, when you need it most, the absolute certainty that there is love and a bond between you. And it is Jamie, her older brother, that has the profound thoughts at the end of the book that were my sucker punch. It’s worth a read if you don’t mind a trip back to middle school.
As a complete side note: this is my most likely my last reading post of 2015. I’ve read more this past year than ever before, and documented it all (with one exception, I only write about the first comic volume in a series, but for the most part, I do continue to read more). It’s been so wonderful to share these tidbits with whoever happens upon this site. And it’s been a truly wonderful way for me to look back and remember my year through books.