It Started With Goodbye by Christina June
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Christina June’s young adult book IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, charmed me from the start, and I found myself sitting comfortably in the author’s beautiful writing, like an old friend sharing a story. Familiar, and relatable, this was a fun contemporary take on the Cinderella story, which explores finding your place in life, even when it feels everyone’s against you.
Falsely accused of a crime, sixteen-year-old, Tatum Elsea (TLC) winds up under house arrest. Her father leaves town, leaving Tatum with her step-monster, Belen, and perfect stepsister, Matilda, who won’t even look at her, much less speak. Her best friend, Ashlyn, has been sent to a boarding school since the criminal charge and isn’t writing back. Tatum tried reaching out to her. It wasn’t Tatum’s fault. Ashlyn’s questionable new boyfriend, Chase, got them into serious trouble, and now they face grand larceny charges.
“In terms of life events, my getting arrested was either pretty horrible timing or pretty perfect, depending on who you were talking to.”
Sentenced to probation and community service, Tatum’s thankful it’s the end of the school year, and wouldn’t have to listen to the rumor mill blow everything out of proportion for long. Maybe it would help her focus on the budding graphic design business, new friend Abby suggested, after the great work Tatum did on her blog.
Abby encourages Tatum to find more clients. Tatum’s inspired. When her stepsister, Matilda, the ballet dancer has a recital, she takes the opportunity to leave the new business cards at the school that didn’t accept her art portfolio. She literally bumps into a mysterious and keen-witted boy, and the two have an inspired conversation while critiquing the art on the walls. Tatum flees before either catches the other’s name. A student from her stepsister’s school, she wouldn’t dare tell either, wanting to stay anonymous. She also wants to keep her budding graphic design business under wraps for now.
Waiting for her best friend Ashlyn to write back, and with her stepmother watching every move and calculating her car’s mileage, the boy at the gala fades into the background. Tatum begins corresponding with SK, her latest client. Leaving her business cards at Matilda’s school proved fruitful. He plays cello and she begins work on creating the perfect promotional flyer for him.
But Belen, the stepmother, pulls the reigns in tighter, and the only recourse Tatum has, is her step-grandmother, Blanche, who came to stay and help Belen keep tabs on her. She has wise words to share, compliments of The Golden Girls. A breath of air in Tatum’s otherwise suffocating life. Blanche lessens the blow of her daughter, Belen’s unreadable demeanor. Tatum soon discovers she’s not the only one in the house, keeping secrets. A wonderful young adult debut for all ages, and I look forward to the author’s next work.
Expected publication: May 9th, 2017 by Blink/HarperCollins
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