ARC Review | Goodbye, Perfect By Sara Barnard

goodbye perfect

Title: Goodbye, Perfect

Author: Sara Barnard

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Publication Date: February 8th 2018

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Book Depository

When I was wild, you were steady . . .
Now you are wild – what am I?

Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.

Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.

As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!


A Quiet Kind Of Thunder by Sara Barnard was one of my favourite books of 2017 so – despite not loving her debut as much – I was curious to read whatever came next. Would I love it, or would I hate it? Goodbye, Perfect falls on the latter end of the spectrum. It wasn’t awful, but it also wasn’t anything that special.

Starting with the positives, Sara Barnard is renowned in UKYA for her faithful representation of female friendships and this book was no exception. As well as exploring the relationship between Eden and Bonnie, she touches on many other ‘teenage’ topics, such as academic pressure and romance, and I really enjoyed how the novel engaged with these themes. Eden is dyslexic, and she’s in a committed relationship with Connor who is a young carer (and an absolute sweetheart.) It was also lovely to see an adoptive family dynamic in a positive light, especially in regards to Eden’s relationships with her sisters, Daisy and Valerie.

But, ultimately, the book is all about Bonnie and her relationship with Mr Cohn and that was literally the downfall. The latter part didn’t bother me so much because we also had the ‘teacher-student relationship scandal’ at my own high school; I just really hated Bonnie so it was difficult to enjoy a book where the story revolves around her character. By relaying the narrative through Eden’s perspective, the author does well to avoid romanticising the relationship between Bonnie and Jack. But I do think, at times, it wasn’t stressed enough just how serious and problematic the situation was.

Overall, this book was more goodbye than perfect, but I will probably still read whatever Sara Barnard writes next. I love how honestly she explores certain topics in each of her books, though I wish they were explored more in depth in this one. Despite the end-of-chapter inserts of flashbacks and newspaper articles that made the main subject matter of the book a bit more bearable, it’s not one I’ll be shoving into your hands anytime soon.


4 thoughts on “ARC Review | Goodbye, Perfect By Sara Barnard

  1. Great Review, Nadia 🌸

    Just like you I loved A Quiet Kind of Thunder, but I was let down by Barnard’s first novel. I was hesitant to read Goodbye, Perfect but just like you I love the way she writes female friendship; thus I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the friendship aspect of the novel 😊
    I’m also very intrigued by the adoptive part of the story as well as reading about a character that has dyslexia – it will be something totally new for me!

    I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like Bonnie, I am however still going to give this book a try after reading yoir review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Since I read Sara Bernard’s other book, Beautiful Broken Things, I don’t know what to expect from her books anymore! I absolutely loved A Quiet Kind of Thunder but disliked Beautiful Broken Things like you, and something tells me I wouldn’t enjoy this book a lot either. Anyway, wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!

      Sounds like we’re in the same boat! Beautiful Broken Things received so much praise as well so I was pretty disappointed when I didn’t enjoy it. 😔 I didn’t have very high expectations for Goodbye, Perfect though since the synopsis didn’t really intrigue me in the first place. 🤷


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