It Started With Goodbye sounds like a pretty heavy title, but this has got to be one of the easiest reads of the year.

It Started with Goodbye by Christina June

Thanks to NetGalley for sending me this YA ebook in return for an honest review.

Poor Tatum’s summer is over before it’s begun. Days before her father leaves for a few months, she finds herself convicted of a crime she didn’t even commit. Now stuck in her house with her too-perfect stepsister and awful stepmother, Tatum’s only chance at some fun is enjoying her community service.

You know when you read a book, and it’s not necessarily good, but it’s not bad? This is that. Right until the last couple of chapters, It Started With Goodbye felt pretty meh.

I can’t fault it in terms of content. Debut author Christina June manages to cover every base. Lying, betrayal, secrets, romance, family feuds, friendship — it’s all touched on.

In an interesting Cinderella retelling, Tate ends up in a wrong place, wrong time scenario. Her father and stepmother disregard her side of the story and once her best friend starts ghosting her, Tate feels like she has nobody on her side. While you’d want to feel bad for her, I found it hard.

Maybe this is a personal issue – Tate is outgoing, I’m not. She wants to leave the house (to see friends or whatever), but I tend to stay inside all summer every summer. By being grounded, she’s pretty much started living my life.

A fortunate coincidence for Tate is that a couple of students from her school are taking part in community service, so she’s not entirely alone. Thing is, hers is mandatory while they’ve chosen to take part for their college applications.

It Started with Goodbye is very much a go-with-the-flow novel. Nothing huge happens for the most part. Once you’ve gotten past the whole getting arrested bit, you plod along. It’s simple, it’s easy. It’s not a rollercoaster – but that’s okay.

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As a more conservative YA novel, this provides the level of cuteness you’d want from a young adult romance. Two innocent teens with their inexperience shining through. They’re only young and haven’t got romance figured out yet. In the kindest, least-condescending way possible, I want to say that it’s a nice read romance-wise.

Just don’t expect to be addicted to It Started with Goodbye. You’ll keep reading because it’s not that bad and the characters are alright. You won’t want to be friends with them, but acquaintances might work.

In the last few chapters, I did realise how everything was about to click into place. Usually I’d groan at predictability, but this caused an oh-my-God-I-can’t-stop-reading feeling to kick in. It’s just too bad the author couldn’t capture that excitement the whole way through.

It Started with Goodbye is a little cheesy, but ultimately you’ll squeal as everything pulls together. Genuinely, my heart was about to burst within the final few chapters — a strange change in pace from the rest of the book. It was enjoyable, nonetheless.

June has a great way of telling stories. Many times, I felt as if I was there in the moment. If you’re looking for a light read, I wouldn’t pass this by.

It Started with Goodbye is available here on Book Depository. FYI: This is an affiliate link, which means I’ll get a small cut of what you’ll pay for the book, but it won’t cost you anything. Here’s my affiliate policy if you want to have a gander.