So, I picked up Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between, because all I’ve been doing recently is watching Pretty Little Liars (we’re on season 3, if you’re interested and Spoby is life.) At 248 pages I was confident I could finish it in one sitting, and I did! Which hopefully makes up for the fact I haven’t finished a book in over a week. The basic premise is that Aidan and Clare are just about to go off to university (literally they’re one day away) and they’re trying to decide whether or not to break up. And although it had a few gems, overall the story was pretty generic and much like the million teen rom-coms I’ve seen before.
Unfortunately, it was full of stock characters. You’ve got the mismatched couple: he’s a jock and she’s super organised and a little nerdy. Her best friend is a manic pixie dream girl, who even comes with a quirk – this time it’s picking out one word from the dictionary that she has to get into conversation. His best friend is a bit of a clown who didn’t try very hard at school so winds up in a community college. This dynamic has been done plenty of times before so I found how the characters were interacting with one another to be rather predictable. If opposites attract it’s pretty easy to put two and two together, right?
I felt like the characters had come to us fully formed, with little to no room for development. Like we started half way through their story. It took me a while to figure out why I felt this way and in the end I realised it was because Aidan and Clare were already in a relationship and this was the story of their break-up rather than the build-up to their happy ending. What I can conclude from reading this book is that my favourite part of any story is always the slow and gradual build-up from being friends to being together and that was completely missing from this book.
Instead we got a lot of repetitive conversations where the characters wanted to have their cake and eat it too. It took them forever to come to a decision about whether they should stay together and I thought Clare’s logic was skewed and the fact that they couldn’t even be bothered to try a long distance relationship really bothered me. Surely, they don’t really love one another if trying it out wasn’t even in the cards. In the beginning it certainly felt like Clare was stringing Aidan along, because out of the pair she seemed like the one that knew what she wanted. For the amount of conversation in this book Clare and Aidan didn’t seem to be communicating their feelings very well and were constantly on the wrong page.
However, I did like the concept of the novel. The whole going around the town picking up mementos of their relationship in places that were significant, it felt a little similar to the list in Since You’ve Been Gone by my all-time favourite Morgan Matson. The whole thing was like a road trip on a very small scale, except it wasn’t consistent and they kept diverting from the plan. There were a few chapters that I felt were fillers just to create tension and to push the plot forward, because really it’s a very small and simple story with a bit of mischief at a party to add drama.
Perhaps the only thing that I really enjoyed about this book was the writing style, which in some cases is most important. Jennifer E. Smith links back to things she’s said before and repeats certain phrases later in the novel so they have a new and different context, which is just magical and something I want to replicate in my own writing.
Overall, Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between is just a very quick read if you’re in the mood for something predictable, but it’s still an enjoyable story and perfect for those that want something to fill the time before they go to university(aka me!)