‘This night: a nostalgia tour, a journey into the past, a walk down memory lane. It would be a way for her to say goodbye to this town where she’d lived her whole life, and maybe – somehow – to Aidan, too.’
Clare and Aidan are high school sweethearts, barely able to tear themselves apart, but now they’re off to college on opposite sides of the country, and on this, their last night together, they will discover just how hard it is to say goodbye.
It seems like every high school movie tells the story of the guy and girl falling for each other, but few of them ever address what happens when the two go off to college; it was for this reason that I was really intrigued by the concept behind Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between. Set in the final twelve hours before they leave, Jennifer E. Smith’s eighth novel is an emotional roller-coaster ride through what happens when high school ends.
Except it’s not.
Throughout I felt very detached from the characters and what they were going through; the brief emotional moments were so few and far between that I just didn’t get the sense that this was a truly emotional night for them all, even though they kept stating how much it really was over and over again.
I put a lot of this down to the structure, which made for a very fragmented story; the few scenes that felt like more than just filler scenes were cut short just as they started to get going, and I kept waiting for something truly emotional or exciting to happen, only to be left disappointed.
I will say the book does pick up in the final third, when Smith actually allows for scenes that last longer than a page, and there are some quite touching moments and conversations during those scenes.
Overall, though, I just found the whole thing rather boring. I nearly gave up on multiple occasions and really had to push through to the end, which, in fairness, I am glad I did, because the ending was by far the best part, but it still wasn’t enough to rescue this book from being a complete disappointment.