“Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.”
I’d been hearing about this book EVERYWHERE. I’m not sure I’ve seen a more aggressive publicity campaign by Blink. For real, I can’t think of one.
So, I was REALLY looking forward to this book, especially because I tend to enjoy books by Blink.
Unfortunately, It Started with Goodbye wasn’t one of those books.
This was touted as a Cinderella-ish retelling. You know, A girl with a stepsister, a step-mother and a grandmother as a fairy godmother. But that’s a liberal description of It Started With Goodbye. It meets the qualifications, but barely.
The book’s biggest problem, was lack of commitment.
The antagonist was nonexistent in this book. In the book, Tate has issues with her stepmother, stepsister and even her father. She even falls into the wrong side of the law. But all that tension dropped, right after it arose. One moment, she would be mad at her stepmother for some injustice or unfair treatment. Then, a paragraph later, Tate would say “but I can see where she was coming from”. It wiped away all of the emotional momentum in the novel.
It DROVE ME NUTS. Because it meant that the book had no plot. None at all. In Cinderella, Cinderella escapes her stepmother and step sister’s cruelty. She gets a gown, goes to a ball, meets a prince, and falls in love, right?
But here, she wanders around aimlessly for the entire book. Finally, in the last thirty pages, she goes to a festival and meets the ‘prince’. True, she does a few other things, like start a graphic design business…. Which would be great, except it failed to carry any conflict into or out of the novel. While it did serve the purpose of bringing her in contact with the ‘prince’, that’s the only purpose it served. It all seemed so pointless…so directionless and never ending.
The writing was okay. However, combined with the plot, the book is less than satisfactory. Dare I say it, it seemed mediocre. It makes my heart ache knowing that the potential of this book was wasted away. There are so many other amazing books out there! Ones that I haven’t even read or heard about.
Another huge problem for this book was empathy.
Not here anyway. I didn’t feel for her, her problems…nothing. A BIG part of that, was the previously mentioned weakness in the plot. Because, if a character isn’t against anything, it’s hard to be for something. In the end, it was kind of like a “shrug” moment where “all is well that ends well”. So unfortunately I can’t recommend the book. Just literally can’t. I so wish I could. But I don’t.