Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Audience: 12 & up 

Release date: August 4, 2015

Pages: 304

Is the new you the stranger? Or is the stranger the person you leave behind? 

The Story 

*Synopsis based off of Goodreads*

Five lives are intertwined.  Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive &  what her purpose is. 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. 

As these characters slowly navigate these struggles,  an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal on Valentine's Day.  It is up to them to find each other & learn what it means to really live. 

Reader's Advisory Notes 

 When I first picked up this book, I was expecting it to be a middle grade novel about the struggles of middle school. As I started reading this book, however, I quickly realized that this is not a middle grade novel. Instead, I would categorize this as a YA book. I think the interest will mostly be for ages thirteen or fourteen based on the content, but older tweens may enjoy this book as well. 

I do want to mention that a great deal of this book deals with bullying & sexting.
One of the characters in the book shares a pictures with a boy & the photo gets sent on.
Sexting is serious, but the author does it in a way that is appropriate  & real for young adults. 

For instance, the pictures start out innocent enough but it develops to the character sending a picture of herself  in a bra. She reasoned it as being the same thing as someone seeing her in a swimming suit. I really admired how the author approached this.

Along with this, I also think a lot of reader's will relate to the character's quest to find their "real" friends & themselves. This is the first book that I have personally read that depicts this middle school struggle of finding yourself and your friends in a way that is relatable & in a way that introduces the issue of bullying that go with it. 

I personally really enjoyed the character development. 
For example, one of the characters in the book wears cat ears. The character does this as a way to profess how she is different from everyone else. By the end of the book, she finally stops wearing them. For me, this was just a wonderful way to show the character development throughout the book and how much the character has grown to accept who she is and why she is here. I was very impressed by the depth of it. 

 I would even go as far to say that the author depicts middle school in a way that has not been done before. 

Given the subject matter, I do think this book will be uncomfortable for some readers, and makes reader's advisory a little tricky! 

I do think,however, that there will be some that will benefit greatly from this book. It is just the matter of finding the tween who needs this. 

Ms. Rebecca Stead touches these tough subjects with grace and incredible character development. Some tweens may not even pick up on the seriousness. 

As uncomfortable as it is, it is really important to make these issues known and to teach our tweens about it. 

If You Would Like to Learn More, Please Visit These
 Resources About Bullying and Sexting 

Bullying Resources

What's Wrong With Sexting?

Talking to Your Child About Sexting


No comments