Christina June swept me off my feet with It Started With Goodbye! Like the original tale, there is an adorable romance but the heart of this story centers around family and friendships which made it a refreshing YA contemporary read!
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.
We meet our main character, Tatum, as she is getting caught in a crime. It’s all about her being in the wrong place at the wrong time because she’s far from a criminal. I easily fell in love with this book because the characters felt so real. It was like a breath of fresh air to read Tatum’s story. The aftermath of the crime leaves her completely isolated since her family doesn’t believe she had no involvement.
Everyone has been in a situation that caused us to be misunderstood and lose the people we love’s trust. Even when Tatum was a little uncertain of herself because of this she never quit fighting. There are moments when she wonders what the point even is in trying, but after crying it out, she keeps going. That’s where her strength came from and why I adored her.
As the story progresses, we learn more about her family. Her stepmother and stepsister play important roles and I enjoyed their family dynamic so much. I thought I knew where this story would go since it’s inspired by Cinderella, but there was so much more to this story than what was in the original tale. It Started With Goodbye is its own while keeping fun aspects of Cinderella woven throughout.
Honestly, in most contemporaries, I feel as if the love interest plays too big of a role when it concerns family drama, but this book’s heart was always family. The love interest didn’t help her see things from a new perspective, although there are certainly a few adorable moments between the two! Tatum’s personal journey alone was what kept me reading until four in the morning.
I enjoyed the great set of diverse characters that help play in Tatum’s life. My favorite was her step-grandmother, though! She brought a lot out of Tatum by challenging her thoughts concerning her goals and relationships. Also, when they immigrated from Chile she renamed herself Blanche after The Golden Girls. If that’s not awesome then I don’t know what is.
The story wraps up in a beautiful way! Christina June’s writing is absolutely wonderful and I’m looking forward to reading whatever she writes next! We’ve all felt abandoned at least once in our life and reading Tatum’s story will help anyone feel less alone. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Cinderella or enjoys contemporaries! It’s on sale May 9th so make sure to pick up your copy then!