My very grateful thanks to Frances Gough at Headline for providing an advanced reader copy of Jennifer E. Smith’s ‘Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between’ in return for an honest review. It is published by Headline in paperback and e-book on 1st September 2015.
Aiden and Clare have been dating for two years at high school. Now it is the eve of when they will go their separate ways to universities on opposite American coasts. They have twelve hours before they will split up in which to recall their first hello, say a final goodbye and remember everything in between.
I read the two pages of the prologue to ‘Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between’ and thought I had the measure of it – a quick, simple read that would be rather predictable, saccharine and cheesy for a teenage audience. By the end of the first chapter I was in tears and I cried my way through the whole of the rest of the story in one go. I really did not want to stop reading this delightful romance.
It’s difficult to articulate why this simple premise of a story – two teenagers breaking up because a long distance university relationship will be too difficult to maintain – affected me so emotionally, but I was incredibly touched by it. Perhaps it took me back to my own first teenage love. There is a sweetness and underlying sadness from the first page that would melt the heart of the most cynical reader.
There’s a natural flow and rhythm to the writing that draws you in and makes you feel as if you are Aiden or Clare rather than reading about them so that their emotions become your own. Jennifer E. Smith conveys brilliantly the relationships between young people, both as lovers and friends, as well as those relationships between parents and children. She doesn’t miss a beat in the storytelling and the dialogue is perfect. Descriptions really help create a sense of wistfulness and place so that it is easy to imagine Clare and Aiden as they spend their last hours together.
The story is structured around different times over a 12 hour period and as the clock ticked away I really wanted them to have a happy ever after ending, but you’ll have to read it for yourself to see if that is the case.
I think anyone who has truly loved another person and thought they might lose them will devour ‘Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between’ as will those who enjoyed ‘The Fault In Our Stars’. Jennifer E. Smith’s book deserves movie treatment just as much. I thought it was wonderful.