My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Friday, May 12, 2017

ARc Review: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June

Please Note:  I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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.

Summer holds such wonder for teens.  The possibilities of the season are endless.  Long days at the beach, hanging out with friends, a summer romance, being convicted of shoplifting... wait, what?  Being in the wrong place at the wrong time turns Tatum's summer into a stormy one, as she attempts to repair the damaged relationship she has with the adults in her life.  While I liked Tatum very much, I was very conflicted after reading this book.  It was certainly entertaining, but it seemed to be written by someone trying to teach a moral lesson.  I don't know how this will sit with teen readers.

What I Liked: 
I love the main character, Tatum.  She is a loyal friend, artistically creative, and self-motivated to do better.  Basically, she is everything a parent would want in a teen.  But her father and step-mother only seem to acknowledge when she messes up.  This causes Tatum to act out, which I didn't really blame her for.  She is a really good kid.  I love how she problem-solves in order to get money to pay her fine, and reaches out to her best friend when they have a falling out.

Tatum is not perfect, but who is?  She does lie to people, and doesn't bother to see the points of view of her family members.  But given how hurt she is by her family's mistreatment, it is understandable.

I also love Tatum's step-grandmother, Blanche.  She is a fun character who believes in both Tatum and her step sister, Tilly.  She offers the kind of non-judgemental support both girls crave.

What I Didn't Like:
Tatum's father is such a sop!  He defers to his wife in all matters, including managing Tatum.  When Tatum gets in trouble with the police, he doesn't fight for her.  She is forced to take a "deal" and get a misdemeanor, pay a fine, and do community service.  As a parent, I would believe my kid when she says she wasn't involved in the shoplifting incident, and fight tooth and nail to clear my kid's name.  But he never even seems to ask Tatum what happened.

Missing Parent Syndrome:
One of my pet peeves is the YA trope of the missing parent.  In this book, Tatum's birth mom is dead, and her dad is out of the country for most of the novel.  I understand that this is a plot device so Tatum is forced to deal with her step-mother, Belen, through most of the book.  But I thought the scenario was contrived. 

Moral lesson:
My main problem with the story was that it seemed to be written with the purpose of getting teens to think that no matter how poorly your parents treat you, they always have their kids best interests at heart.

I found this to be ridiculous!  Tatum's step-mother was abusive.  I don't care if she had a difficult childhood!  There was no excuse for how awful she was toward Tatum and her own daughter, Tilly (that's the problem when you adore a character: you don't want them to get hurt).  

I also hated that Tatum sought out her father's forgiveness (for what, exactly?), and glossed over her friend, Ashlyn's, betrayal.  As her step-mother points out, having a misdemeanor on your record will follow a teen into her college applications.  It is not a trivial matter.  But her friend, who doesn't speak up that Tatum was innocent, barely even apologizes. Although Ashlyn does let Tatum's dad know what really happened, there is no effort to go to the police to straighten out Tatum's record.





Release Date:  May 9th, 2017

Genre:  YA Fiction

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

I do think this book is worth reading for Tatum's wonderful character.   She makes the best of a bad situation, and grows over the course of the book.  But if I had to be careful with money, I would try to get this novel from my local library, rather than at a bookstore.
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2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
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