Title: How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?
Author: Yvonne Cassidy
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
It’s been almost eleven years since Rhea Farrell last wrote to her mother.
It was a Friday night ritual – until Rhea’s father decided it was stupid to write letters to a dead person. That was the summer before the accident. The summer before Rhea began to keep her first secret.
Now about to turn eighteen, Rhea finds herself alone on the streets of New York with nobody to talk to about the future, or the past. So, just like she used to do as a little girl, she begins a letter with the words ‘Dear Mum’ and tells her mother the things she can’t tell anyone else.
In the city where Allison Farrell was born, her daughter begins to delve into her past. And as she uncovers more about who her mother truly was, Rhea starts to figure out exactly who she herself wants to be. And that sometimes it takes longer than you think to say goodbye…
Did I pick this book up because of its intriguing cover? Maybe… But did I stay for the story? Definitely.
I saw this book and thought of 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, and thought I’d give it a shot. To be perfectly honest with you, the beginning of this book took me about two weeks to get through. It was difficult getting into the story – Rhea begins as a curious, but fairly bitter character – she’s an orphan and has been scorned by the only family she has left, it makes sense. However, this is probably where the story loses a few points for me. As it was so hard for me to get into, a fair amount of the first third of the book was something I had to push myself through.
That being said, as time went on – as she met new people, gained better influences, and got back into the world – Rhea really began to grow on me as a character – I actually began to like her!
This book really depicts how people can change people – given the right opportunities and the right support, anyone can come back from the darkness they’ve shrouded themselves in. This book was a roller coaster of emotion. It made me love her family, and then hate them for backstabbing her. Then I loved a few of the other characters, and again trust was broken. Scorned, betray, distrustful – I understood all these emotions through Rhea and I felt for her – as new characters began popping up, I approached them with the same distrust she did. It’s hard to be let down so many times without becoming jaded.
The story unfolds slowly, but very well. While I believe the pacing could have been better (i.e. this book could have been a lot shorter), I liked that I got to know Rhea so well. I liked that they really dug into her history and what made her her, but also put focus on the future – who she was, how she could grow, and who she could become one day.
Of the novel, there was one point in particular that surprised me – mainly because it wasn’t advertised, and it was done so well – it was so subtle that I felt it was natural. Of course that was it, of course that happened – why wouldn’t it?
As a whole, How Many Letters Are In Goodbye was very well crafted and very well done.
World Building: 4.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.46/5
eARC obtained via Flux via NetGalley