Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between deals with the dilemma that so many young couples face upon graduating from high school: to break up or not to break up. Over the course of one evening, Jennifer E. Smith’s novel explores Aiden and Clare’s last night in their hometown before they embark on their journeys to colleges on opposite coasts. The premise of this novel really struck me because I was in the exact same position when I was there age. I was in a happy relationship and had been for about two years, was going away to school a significant distance from my significant other, and was uncertain as to how feasible such a distance was (400+ miles, in case you were wondering).
Yet unlike Clare, who wavers so much about her decision that she turns steadfast and loyal Aiden to indecisiveness, I knew that I wanted to at least try to make my relationship work. It seemed cruel and illogical to let end something preemptively just because there was a chance it wouldn’t work out. So I packed up the car and arrived at college with a boyfriend, and found myself to be far from the only freshman still with their high school significant other.
Was it hard? Sure. Was I lonely? Sometimes. Yet college was lonely and hard and isolating for a multitude of reasons and people whom I missed: my friends, my family, my cats. Missing a boyfriend was not a make or break situation when it came to how I adjusted to college. Many, many people assured me that all freshmen with hometown love interests would be subject to the “Turkey Drop,” when everyone returned home for Thanksgiving Break and found how college had changed them irrevocably and they no longer fit together. I found that no such thing impacted my relationship at all. Over the course of the four years I did see some couples who I thought for SURE would stay together, even some who were engaged, break up against all odds. Yet I also saw a handful of people manage to stay with their partners from before college and make it work wonderfully, including one of my best friends I met in college (who was also my grandlittle, for those of you who know sorority-speak).
I suppose the moral of my story is that reading Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between brought me back to a time in my life when I was in an almost identical situation, but instead of wavering in indecisiveness, I decided to follow the path that made me happy when I left for college, and allowed the possibility for change to come later on down the road if need be, rather than “fixing” a situation that wasn’t broken in the first place. Staying with your boyfriend or girlfriend when you move long distance doesn’t make you clingy or overly optimistic. It makes you grow more mature and adult and honestly, it makes you grow into yourself. I wasn’t spending my time trying to find someone to date and instead was able to spend that time and energy on so many other worthwhile endeavors: building friendships, double majoring, getting involved in a multitude of on-campus activities, work, etc. all at the same time. Sure, nurturing my relationship did take some extra effort (Skype, phone calls, planning visits) and a huge dose of trust, but being in a long distance relationship taught me that I’m comfortable with being me, comfortable with my alone time and doing my own thing, and confident in how strong my connection with my significant other is- it can transcend both time and distance.
Now, I’m not one for spoilers, so you’re going to have to read Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between yourself to see what the outcome of Clare and Aiden’s relationship status is after moving three thousand miles away. However, I wanted to share my story of such a similar situation to show that 1) YA can be extremely pertinent to real life and 2) That you don’t have to torture yourself with indecision like the characters in this book spend the whole novel doing. You can trust your instincts and make a decision that is right or wrong for you when the time comes (whether it be staying together or breaking up), but be careful of cheating yourself out of an experience- whether new or old- because you feel pressured to either hold on or let go.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, Windfall
Published by Poppy on September 1st 2015
Pages: 256 •Goodreads
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Goodreads Challenge
Great post. I love the real life tie ins. It’s fun to read a book that brings you back to a time in your own past. I feel that way about Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. Even though it brings back some unpleasant college memories, it’s fun to remember myself then and see how much I’ve changed and grown.
Thank you Kate! This book definitely brought back a lot of high school memories, as Fangirl did for college for me as well! I like when authors really focus on transitional life changes that young adults go through, and create content especially that focuses on bridging the gap between “teen” and “adult,” because a lot of things happen in between those two timeframes!