ARC Review: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

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I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Goodbye Stranger
Author: Rebecca Stead
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books: an imprint of Random House
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games–or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?

This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl–as a friend?
On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

If a quick mysterious read is intriguing to you, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead is a book that will definitely appeal to you. This book is a really engaging middle grade contemporary novel. Its middle school setting is very relatable, well-developed characters and a second-person narrative are the perfect mix for an enjoyable and hard to put down read.

One of the most entertaining aspects of Goodbye Stranger is its middle school backdrop. Rebecca Stead has provided readers with a very detailed account of the middle school atmosphere that feels so familiar. Right down to the lockers and hallways, the descriptions are so relatable and accurate. I felt as though this was a school that I have attended.

Goodbye Stranger is riddled with well-developed characters. This is classic Rebecca Stead, as each character in the story is described richly. The physical details of the characters are so descriptive, it is quite easy to picture what the characters look like. One of the main characters, Bridge, decides that she does not want to be called Bridget anymore. She also decides that she wants to wear cat ears every day, which is a bit strange, but defines her personality even more. There is a real explanation behind this, which is a fun component to the book.

For the majority, Goodbye Stranger is told in the third person. A unique aspect to the story are the few chapters that are told in second person. Second-person narratives can be a lot of fun in a work of fiction, as it gives the reader a sense of being a part of the story. Rebecca Stead has used second person in a very interesting way, as she is concealing the identity of the mysterious character. Reading this book is kind of like reading two completely different books that slowly merge together.

As a huge fan of Rebecca Stead, Goodbye Stranger did not disappoint. I loved the setting, characters and the use of second person in this book. It is a perfect read for those who enjoy a well written middle grade mystery.

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