The Things You Kiss Goodbye
By Leslie Connor
Publication date: June 24, 2014
Katherine Tegen Books, 368 pages
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.
— Goodreads.com description
I respect The Things You Kiss Goodbye for how it depicted a tough and controlling home situation and an abusive relationship. I think it’s important that these issues be depicted in YA novels so that teenagers can see how quickly things can go south.
Bettina and Brady’s relationship was ADORABLE to start. All cute and fluffy and everything I like to read about in YA. But, wow, did it turn. I think this was a really intense slap in the face for the reader (awful, unfortunate pun not intended).
So, kudos to Leslie Connor on that front.
But the dialogue was so heavy-handed in parts and the drama so overdrawn that I found myself alternating between eye rolls and mental “ughs.” And I just cannot get behind a romance between an underage girl and a guy in his mid-20s. Just…no.
All in all, I’m not sure where I fall here. I guess I’d say “respect, but not like.”