Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

The Things You Kiss Goodbye 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.

My Review:

This was a very powerful and emotional story.  I loved the characters, and I felt for them when bad things happened to them.


I thought that the evolution of Bettina's relationship with Brady was very well done.  At first, he seems like such a sweet guy.  He even manages to win over her protective dad.  Then, the next year, he changes.  It is clear that he is becoming very emotionally manipulative to Bettina.  He physically hurts, but then he apologizes for it every time, telling her that he didn't mean, and that he didn't realize how much he had hurt her.  Each time this happened, I wanted her to end it with him, but she still didn't.  I could see through her perspective how trapped she felt.

I had very mixed feelings on Bampas.  I realize that he was just being overprotective, but he was protecting her from what she didn't need protected from, instead of from Brady, the boy she did need protected from.  For example, Bettina asked Bampas if she could go to a movie with a girl from school.  Bampas said that she couldn't go because it would make Brady upset if she went out with friends without him.  Of course, Bampas didn't know that Brady was abusing, but he still shouldn't think that a girl can't go out with friends without her boyfriend.  He also isn't very nice when Bettina's mom suggests that they all go to see the game that she is cheerleading at.  He says that he needs the time in his home after work.  

Cowboy was such a sweet guy.  I thought of him as more of the friend that Bettina needed than as a love interest for her, since he was quite a bit older than her.  Of course, Bettina's feelings for him do grow and change over the course of the book.  He was exactly what Bettina needing to escape from her relationship with Brady.  And, he had had some things happen to him in the past, too, so he understood what Bettina was going through.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


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