Goodbye Stranger

by Rebecca Stead
ISBN: 9780385743174

I read Stead’s When You Reach Me last year and really liked it, so was happy to see this displayed on the new book shelf at the library.

These are young adult titles, if tracking that kind of thing is important to you. I find good stories are good stories wherever you find them. (Age levels can be helpful if you are actually trying to buy or recommend books for people in the intended range.)

The characters feel like real if unfinished people. By this I mean they are excellent portrayals of near teens and teens; we are all more or less unfinished people at that stage. That is what makes everything so intense — how will everyone turn out?

Here, you’ve got evolving friendships and the challenges of liking in the social media and cell photo age. To be honest, re-reading that last sentence makes me cringe a little. Junior high years are possibly the most miserable age in human development, so it is to Stead’s enormous credit that she writes characters in this age group that one wants to spend time with, see good things happen to (well, some of them; others you don’t exactly root for), and grow.

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