June 23, 2014
Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye
The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor
Release date: June 24, 2014
This ARC was provided by Read Between the Lynes in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 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.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: At the risk of spoiling something big, I'm going to make a comparison. This book ripped out my unsuspecting heart and crushed it, The Fault in Our Stars-style. I knew there would be tragedy (it says so right in the synopsis), but I wasn't expecting what actually happened. I had a major book hangover, thanks to that ending. Overall, The Things You Kiss Goodbye came alive for me. I could picture so many of the details from early on, even though the writing isn't full of vivid imagery. I could practically see and feel Bettina's thick braid, and almost every scene played like a movie in my head. I felt for Bettina as Brady turned abusive. I wished she'd noticed the signs and left him much sooner, but I know it can be hard to escape an abusive relationship. (I will give a trigger warning: Brady doesn't beat her, but he jokingly hurts her by knocking her books out of her hands and slamming her locker door and therefore almost crushing her hands on several occasions - and those are just things I remember off the top of my head.) Bettina's family is great. Her father may be strict, but he does love his daughter. He's very traditional, and I could see where he was coming from on most of his rules. There's a Greek phrase that is repeated throughout the book that translates to "Kiss it goodbye." I love how this factored into the ending; it was one of my favorite parts. Also, I enjoyed Bettina's interest in art. I do wish she would've had more friends like Amy, however.
Also, romantic content wasn't great at times. Nothing was too explicit, but there was a lot referenced and implied. Language was also pretty unclean at times. If both of those hadn't been so bad, I could've easily given The Things You Kiss Goodbye an A-.
The Verdict: Definitely a thought-provoking book. This isn't a light summer read, though, which is what I was sort of expecting when I started reading it. Depending on your opinions on the objectionable content, it's definitely worth a try. I suggest this book for readers of This Song Will Save Your Life, Fangirl, and Time Between Us.