Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger
Rebecca Stead

Andersen Press Ltd

ISBN 9781783443994

Bridge has always been a bit of an oddball, but since she recovered from a serious accident, she's found fitting in with her friends increasingly hard. Tab and Em are getting cooler and better and they don't get why she insists on wearing novelty cat ears every day. Bridge just thinks they look good. It's getting harder to keep their promise of no fights, especially when they start keeping secrets from each other. Sherm wants to get to know Bridge better. But he's hiding the anger he feels at his grandfather for walking out. And then there is another girl, who is struggling with an altogether more serious set of friendship troubles... Told from interlinked points of view, this is a bittersweet story about the trials of friendship and growing up.

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Reviews

Goodbye Stranger4/5

Goodbye Stranger

Rebecca Stead

Review

Except that she survived a life-threatening accident, you'd never know there was anything 'different' about Bridge. She has happily married parents, an irritating but good-natured older brother and a nice group of friends, with an okay school. And yet when Bridge starts wearing a cat-ears headband every day, it's clear she doesn't feel 'normal'. Is this just because of the accident she wonders? Or does everyone wonder what their purpose is? As Bridge and her friends embark on the precarious journey of growing up, change is inevitable; no area of their lives remain unaffected. Bridge is a lovely character and her childhood friends Emily & Tabitha are brilliantly portrayed; each with their own foibles and personality traits, each with their own set of worries. All the friendships in this story are so real, perfectly describing the fickle nature of some, the fierce loyalty that can exist between others and the importance of forgiveness. The ability to be yourself is essential for friendships to thrive; Sherm and Bridge demonstrate this beautifully. I love Sherm's character, the insight into his family life and the way he and Bridge become ever closer. The awkwardness of recognising whether you're just friends or something more is palpable! The mystery girl is the added 'extra', her story unusually told in the second person, which keeps you guessing right until the end. After committing a terrible deed, she goes into hiding for the day and it seems her fate is linked to that of Bridge and her friends. Add to this various family members, the cafe waitress-come boxer, Adrienne, school teachers, the horrible 'friend' Alex, you have a cast of characters that brilliantly bring together the threads of the narrative, creating a picture of teenage life that will be familiar to many. The best thing about this wonderful story is that nothing is dwelt on too deeply, but just enough to make you think. It is light-hearted, but not without meaning. It is fun, but not without seriousness. And it is real, perfectly reflecting the world in which young people are living today. 286 Pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Victoria Dilly, reading consultant.

Reviewed by: Victoria Dilly