Author: Leslie Connor
Publication date: June 24, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: ARC from publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins!)
Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.
But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.
Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.
When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.
Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love.
*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads
Bathed in raw and organic emotions, The Things You Kiss Goodbye is a heartbreaking novel that opens readers’ eyes to the powerful impact of love, loss, and grief in one’s life.
Although I liked some parts in the book, the story overall didn’t work for me. The Things You Kiss Goodbye has a promising storyline but what threw me off was the soap opera-like mood that is dragging and heavy for me. Honestly, there were times that I wanted to DNF the book but then I gave it another chance hoping that events in the story would get better. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. As I read on, more drama and melancholy unfurled before my eyes. I guess this story is not my kind of contemporary YA. Furthermore, what annoyed me was how main character Bettina dealt with what she went through. Despite the fact that her relationship with an older guy she calls “Cowboy” is passionate and sweet, I’m still not a fan of entangling with another guy while in an on-going relationship.
Regardless of my aforementioned thoughts, there are uplifting moments where readers witness Bettina’s transformation into a hopeful and happy character. It’s truly a far cry from the bothered and wounded person that she was when she encountered problems in her relationship with Brady. I think Bettina’s transformation is a notable detail in the book.
Leslie Connor created beautifully complex and flawed characters that paved way for readers to understand abuse and its effects to anyone who experiences it. Aside from that, this book also highlights love of family, courage in the face of tragedy, and letting go. The Things You Kiss Goodbye is certainly a novel that’s realistic in its essence. People who are fascinated by stories with this kind of plot would love this book.