On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have only one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide their future. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?
Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.
I have read all of Jennifer E. Smith’s books and they have all been spectacular. Of course, Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between was no exception. Jennifer E. Smith is definitely one of my auto-buy authors and I’ll continue to pick up whatever she releases next.
In Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between, we follow two new college students who are trying to decide whether they should pursue a long distance relationship or break up. They spend one final night together, revisiting places that have meant a lot to them. The whole story takes place within a 12 hour period. This book reminded me a little bit, in concept, of The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi, so if you’re looking for something along a similar vein I would recommend checking that one out.
I didn’t really know how I felt going into the book. It was obvious from the premise of the book that no matter what their choice was, they would be saying goodbye and leaving for opposite coasts of the US by the end of it. I think I held back a little bit at the beginning so that I wouldn’t have my heart broken, but I quickly ended up diving head-first into the story. This story was a lot more complex than I had thought it would be. Going into the book, I expected to Aidan and Clare to visit places around town and recall the fond memories they have of each place and all the experiences they’ve gone through together. I expected them to rediscover or realise how much they love each other and decide to stay together. And that would have been a perfectly good book for me, but what we got in Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between was so much better than my slightly (or very) unoriginal imaginings.
In this book, we begin with Clare and Aidan as a seemingly perfect couple, but as the night progresses we soon realise that their relationship has its flaws. The things they go through as a couple and the problems they have were so relatable and I found myself living inside of these characters. Different aspects of first love and being in a relationship are explored, from the good to the bad, and I thought they were all handled very well. The book not only focuses on love and romantic relationships, but it also explores family and friendship. There’s something that everybody could relate to, whether it’s the struggle to meet parents’ expectations or the pain of leaving your best friend. Everything that happened in the book felt so real to me.
This book has so many great messages. That sometimes things are worth taking a risk for. That “sometimes the hardest things are the ones most worth doing”. That things that are meant to happen will happen. And all of these messages hit me so hard. There were so many scenes, particularly towards the end of the book, that made my heart ache and my eyes tear up. But in addition to the hard hitting messages of the book that almost destroyed my heart, the book also has a lot of funny moments.
I thought the writing in this novel was great. What I appreciated the most about the writing was how seamlessly Jennifer E. Smith was able to integrate stories of the past with the events of the present. I liked that she was able to do that without having to put in obvious flashbacks or use alternating chapters of past and present. The book was easy and comfortable to read. There wasn’t a point where I felt bored or confused. I also loved how simple the writing was – there was nothing flowery about it. Writing doesn’t need to be complex in order to evoke intense emotions and this book is a great example of that.
I connected with both Clare and Aidan. Clare is the practical and organised one in the relationship and Aidan is the spontaneous and romantic one. I saw a lot of myself in Clare. I was always the one who did well in school and was so organised it was almost a hindrance. I could definitely relate to all of Clare worries and thought processes. At the same time, I also connected with Aidan because he has a lot of the qualities that I would want for myself. He’s very friendly and able to talk to almost anyone without having awkward silences. He’s spontaneous and fun but also sentimental. I thought Aidan and Clare were a great couple together and they complemented each other very well. I also loved the side characters that we saw. Stella and Scotty are Clare and Aidan’s best friends and I thought they were such great characters. Scotty provided a lot of comic relief and I loved all of his scenes.
Overall, I thought this was a really great contemporary read. I like that Jennifer E. Smith’s books are not just fluffy romances but contain some serious themes and messages. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight is probably still my favourite book of hers, but every single one of them (including Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between) are definitely worth the read.