The Goodbye Year is a story of the last year of high school for a group of kids in the California town of Crystal Beach. The community is affluent and the pressure is on to get the kids through this last year and on to an important college for the chance of a lucrative future career. The story is told from the point of view of both the parents and the children.
My oldest son is only 10, but with him moving into fifth grade and middle school this year, I’m already thinking about the sad reality that I only have eight more years with him until he is off to college. What kind of parent will I be? I hopefully will not be one of the parents from this novel that are having mid-life crises, affairs, and pushing agendas on their kids. I want to guide my kids, but not force them to attend colleges that they don’t want to go too.
I found The Goodbye Year to be immensely readable and I wanted to know what was going to happen in the story. Melanie had a super star son, Seth that went off to college two year’s previously, but is disappointed in her second son Dane. He doesn’t do well academically and has never felt like he fit in after moving to Crystal Beach from Ohio. Dane would like to go to a music college and pursue a career in music, but his mother is not a fan of this idea. Jud and Sarah are rich, beautiful, and have a perfect marriage with a gifted daughter, Ashley. Jud travels immensely, and Sarah starts to see her world crumble. Will is a building inspector married to his sweetheart, middle school principal Carol, but he finds himself constantly drawn to other women.
Honestly the huge cast of characters threw me off for this book. I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and which kid belonged to which parent. I felt like there were a couple of main characters I could keep track of and their children, but the rest were difficult. I also had a hard time with the fact that the parents were so elitist constantly worried about which college their child got into and putting down community colleges and blue collar jobs. I am not a fan of that at all and was frankly shocked whenever such things were mentioned.
The Goodbye Year reminded me of a Liane Moriarty novel, but with less developed characters. I like how it took the reader through the story and then had a conclusion for the story arc of each character. I also thought the novel voiced real concerns of parents – so much of my world is wrapped up in taking care of my kids, what will it be like when the kids are gone?
My favorite quotes:
“It’s tough, this senior year. It signifies so many things, so many changes in a family. You’ve been through this before thought, with your other son. This is my only child. I don’t want to think about it, so usually I just stay busy.”
Overall, The Goodbye Year is an interesting story with my different perspectives on just what senior year means to kids and their families.
Book Source: Review Copy as part of the TLC Book Tour - Thanks!
About The Goodbye Year
Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: SparkPress (May 3, 2016)
Melanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can’t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated façade of her life. Will and his wife are fine-as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class).
Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it’s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple’s second act together-empty nesting-might possibly be the end.
“Rouda deftly examines the difficult transition parents and their children face as they prepare for the end of one life and the beginning of another. Her latest is a compelling story and a thoughtful examination of the nature of change and the importance of working to accept it.” –Booklist
“The Goodbye Year is an often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, always engaging look at the last year before high school seniors leave their families for good. I devoured it!” -Meg Mitchell Moore, author of The Admissions, So Far Away, and The Arrivals
“The family dramas and dynamics are things that we can all relate to…”
–Redbook magazine, “20 Best Books to Read Come Spring”
–Redbook magazine, “20 Best Books to Read Come Spring”
“Kaira Rouda channels Peyton Place meets The Real Housewives of Orange County with her newest book, The Goodbye Year.” –Working Mother magazine
“In The Goodbye Year, Kaira Rouda takes us behind the gates of the Orange County elite as they attempt to navigate their children’s senior year and fast-approaching empty nest. Trust is broken, secrets are revealed. It’s delicious fun! The Goodbye Year will have you wishing you never had to say farewell.”-Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, authors of The Status of All Things
Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that sparkles with humor and heart including HERE, HOME, HOPE and IN THE MIRROR. Her latest novel, THE GOODBYE YEAR, will be released in May of 2016. Her modern romance novels are set on beaches, including the Laguna Beach series, the Indigo Island series and coming soon, the Malibu series.
She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.
Connect with Kaira
Kaira Rouda’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Thursday, September 1st: The Baking Bookworm
Friday, September 2nd: FictionZeal
Tuesday, September 6th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, September 7th: Palmer’s Page Turners
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Friday, September 9th: Bookmark Lit
Monday, September 12th: Write Read Life
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Wednesday, September 14th: Dreaming Big – author Q&A
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Monday, September 26th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
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Thursday, September 29th: Laura’s Reviews
TBD: Lavish Bookshelf