Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E Smith

Clare and Aidan dated all through high school, but now they’re leaving for college on opposite ends of the country. Clare has a schedule of things to do for their last night together. At the end of the night, she hopes to be able to make the decision of whether to break up or try to make this long distance thing work.

I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed by this book. I love Jen E Smith’s writing but the plot of this book didn’t really do it for me. Aidan and Clare seemed like real people–and I’m sure this is a situation that many teenagers are in every summer. My only problem is that we as readers are introduced to this couple at the potential end of their relationship. The great thing about reading contemporary romances is that we get to meet the characters before they’re a couple and then watch them fall in love. That’s the part that I like at least. I like having that inside scoop that he likes her and she likes him, but they don’t know it yet. I like that moment when they finally realize what the reader has known all along–that they’re perfect for each other. We don’t get that in this book. Smith tries to give us a glimpse of that by having Clare remember past moments in their relationship as they visit different locations. But they’re just memories. The reader isn’t in that moment with the characters. Because of that, I didn’t feel very invested in the relationship. I wasn’t going, “But, no! They HAVE to stay together! THEY JUST HAVE TO!!!”

That being said, the writing was beautiful as always. There’s something different about Smith’s writing that makes her books feel like more than other books in her category. We’re not reading about fluff here. Her books feel more real and like they have a certain depth that is uncommon.

The secondary characters were all really fun. I liked the two best friends and the group camaraderie felt genuine. I felt like both sets of parents were really well written. Even though they didn’t get much “screen time” they felt like complicated people–not cardboard cutouts. I also liked the premise that this book occurs over a twelve hour period–just one night. I’ve pulled one or two all-nighters and there’s that moment when you realize you have six-eight more hours to your day that didn’t exist before that makes the whole night seem to last forever. I got that feeling from this book.

In the end, I wasn’t so much a fan of this book, but I’m still a big Jen E Smith fan. The autoread will continue.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Mild
Violence: Mild. One fistfight.
Sexual Content: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate. The characters go to a party with underage drinking.