Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.
Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.
As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.
I’ve never spent time with a character like Eden. She’s far from perfect, temperamental and loyal to a fault. It’s wonderful to see her develop throughout the book and becomes self-aware.
The pain and confusion Eden feels when her best friend leaves and the truth begins to unravel is very raw and real. Her relationships (adoptive parents, boyfriend and sisters) add to her complexity and gives her a vulnerability and equal inner strength that makes her a relatable character.
Valerie is Eden’s sister and a surprisingly good addition to the plot. Initially, I disliked her; I trust Eden’s voice. However, as the plot progresses I warm to her and I’m able to distinguish between Eden’s perception and the truth of the character.
Finally! A YA novel that doesn’t glamorise or romanticise the student/teacher relationship that is often prominent in teen fiction. Not only that, Goodbye Perfect delves into the consequences of engaging in this sort of relationship.
The key here is that the story focuses on those left behind, but leaves room to show how the core couple feel about each other. The book explores the complexity of love, the consequences and dangers of grooming.
Barnard gives Eden a strong voice that makes Goodbye Perfect an easy read; it’s clear and modern with a message all should hear.