I discovered Jennifer E. Smith when I first started going to the library in 2013. Her covers were impossible to resist and her books felt like solidly good, YA contemporary romance. They never disappointed. So I was thrilled when I got a review copy of her newest novel Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between. In this book, she returns to a technique used in one of my favorites from her (The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight): showing a relationship change unfold within a short period of time. Except this time instead of showing how two people first come together and fall for each other, this story shows two people in love trying to decide in a twelve hour period whether or not they should break up.
The characters, Claire and Aiden, are both leaving for college in the morning on opposite coasts. They’ve been together for two years, love each other, and love their relationship… but despite a summer full of endless discussions on just this topic they still aren’t sure if they want to break up or stay together and embark on a very long distance relationship. They spend the night retracing the steps of their relationship (first time they saw each other, talked to each other, danced, kissed, more than kissed…) hoping that this scavenger hunt through the past will give them some clue what they should do.
The frame of this book was lovely. I loved learning about how they got together through the lens of them making this big decision two years into their relationship. I also adored how college-focused the story was. I remember college being such a huge percentage of what my friends and I thought about when I was in high school, and it’s a subject that is often ignored in YA books. It’s revealed throughout the night (don’t worry just a small spoiler) that both Claire and Aiden might have had a chance to go to school closer to the other, but they both chose the college they wanted over romantic ease. Very refreshing!
I’m not going to say (obviously) what Claire and Aiden decide to do. But I will say that with each other stops what I wanted shifted back and forth. I wanted them to stay together. And I wanted them each to leave home unencumbered and be free to have the full college experience – whatever that means. What happens might surprise you or it might not, but either way I think you’ll enjoy reading about the road to their decision in this romantic and funny YA romance.
*I received an ARC copy this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, but all the opinions here are my own.