Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
First Published: May 3, 2016
First Line: "Melanie Bronson needed to sit down."
Book Description on GoodReads: Melanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated facade of her life. Will and his wife are fine as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class).
Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple s second act together empty nesting is often actually the end."
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Review: My oldest child will be starting his last year of high school next week. It boggles the mind how fast time flies and with so many emotions swirling in me this book is right up my alley.
In her latest book, Kaira Rouda explores the issues that face both parents and teens alike as the almost-adults venture into their last year of high school. She includes points of view of both the teens and their parents as they struggle with issues of stress, body image, substance abuse, marriage/divorce, peer pressure and worries about the future. On top of all that, some of the parents are dealing with the impending empty nest syndrome better than others with a few struggling to find out who they are after their long-held title of parent is about to change into a new kind of relationship. Rouda also shows the stress and competitive parenting some parents experience as their emotions toggle precariously between pride and worry about what the future holds for their children.
There are five families at the heart of this book which means there's a lot of characters to keep straight. Luckily Rouda provides a listing of the families at the beginning of the book which I regularly used until the characters and their issues were solidly in my mind. This varied group of characters allowed Rouda to bring several timely issues and perspectives to the forefront for her readers. While I found a few characters to be clichéd and not all that likable I still found watching them deal with their issues quite interesting. Surprisingly, I found the teens had a better handle on the changes than their parents.
Note: I thought it a slightly odd choice that Rouda used the name Jud Nelson for one of her characters. My 40-something mind immediately went to images of the actor Judd Nelson from cult classics such as The Breakfast Club and St Elmo's Fire. But I digress ....
There are a few twists that I could see coming but there were a couple that surprised me. With its secrets and revelations this book has a Desperate Housewives meets Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies with a side of suburban soap opera. There are many issues and secrets that will keep readers eager to see how things will end for both the teens and their parents. Overall this was an entertaining read about the changing dynamics in the parent-child relationship. It's about figuring out your own place in the world, learning to say goodbye and welcoming in a new chapter in our lives as parents and young adults.
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Sparkpress and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:
Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that sparkles with humor and heart including HERE, HOME, HOPE and IN THE MIRROR. Her latest novel, THE GOODBYE YEAR, will be released in May of 2016. Her modern romance novels are set on beaches, including the Laguna Beach series, the Indigo Island series and coming soon, the Malibu series.
She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.
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