It Started With Goodbye

May 3, 2017
It Started with Goodbye Book Cover It Started with Goodbye
Christina June
Blink/Harper Collins
May 9th, 2017

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, Christina June’s IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules.
-via Goodreads


I am a firm believer than your experience with books changes based on external factors. Yes, some books will always be amazing, but some books are better or worse in the right context. For me, I know that I read It Started with Goodbye at the exact right time. A new twist on a Cinderella story, this quick-paced YA romance was just what I needed to end my month.

Nothing this summer had gone the way I imagined. But maybe it was supposed to be that way so I could turn the page and move onto a new, clean chapter in my story.

16-year-old Tatum Elsea is not having the best start to her summer. Her bestie’s skeezy boyfriend shoplifted $300+ worth of merchandise with the two ladies around, meaning all three of them were arrested. After offering her testimony in exchange for a less-harsh sentence, her BFF isn’t talking to her and Tatum is under house arrest. When her traditional summer babysitting gig falls through, Tatum is prepared to do nothing but suffer community service and the company of her terrible stepmother. Things cannot get worse.

The way this book started out was a bit of a dud for me. I struggled to believe that Tatum would be charged with grand larceny in this situation. I also couldn’t understand why her stepmother, Belén, and her father were so unbelievably hard on her. No one was having real conversations with her, they were only looking down on her and holding a hard line. From the perspective of a Cinderella re-telling that made sense, I guess. But from a realism perspective, it didn’t.

That said, Tatum’s character was incredibly realistic. I can relate to the terrible feelings and poor self-esteem that Tatum is going through in It Started with Goodbye. 16-year-old me would have been bestie’s with this girl. She is vocal, strong, knows what she wants– and yet she is constantly questioning herself, her personal worth, and her future. This is a perfect 16-year-old.

In terms of life events, my getting arrested was either pretty horrible timing or pretty perfect, depending on who you were talking to.

I adored watching the relationships between Tatum and the people in her life mature throughout this book. Tilly and Abby’s relationships were my personal favorites. It was fun watching Tatum come into who she wants to be with friendships, family, and her future career aspiration. In retrospect, Blanche, Tatum’s step-grandmother didn’t really develop much as a character, but with her fairy-godmother status, I didn’t mind.

I *did* mind the relationship between Tatum and Belén changing. As an adult, I was almost horrified that Tatum had to be the person to step up and be the “bigger person”. Not only did she have to do this with her step-mother, but also with her father– who, in the Cinderella story, is Ella’s biggest supporter. It didn’t sit well with me and made me dislike Belén and Tatum’s father even more as characters. Both of them were villains in my eyes in this story.

I wished more than anything that I could teleport myself somewhere peaceful and quiet, where people smiled and laughed instead of keeping themselves buttoned so tight they choked themselves.

All-in-all, I read this book at the right time. I connected with Tatum and what she was going through. I don’t know if I would resonate with this if my current life circumstances were different. Or even if I had a different mindset. A cute, quirky, and modern take on Cinderella, I strongly recommend It Started with Goodbye to any fan of contemporary YA and romance.

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Blink HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. Check out more about Blink HarperCollins and Christina June on their respective websites. 

What Do You Think?

  • Do you believe that reading a book at the right time can make or break your experience?
  • What do you think about the current fad of YA retellings? What are your favorite or least favorite parts about them?
  • What was the last book you read which you loved in the moment, but thought future-you might not enjoy? Did you ever find out if future-you didn’t enjoy it as much?


  • Laila@BigReadingLife May 3, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I really think that because we change and learn so much as people as we get older, our relationship to books changes also, even our favorite books. So I very much believe that a book can resonate differently at 25 than it would at 45.

    As for specific titles, the one that comes to mind is The Time Traveler’s Wife. I read it when it came out and loved it, but I think that now I might not like it as much. I’m not as much of a starry-eyed romantic as I was back then! 🙂

    • Jackie B May 4, 2017 at 11:37 am

      It’s good to know I’m not alone in that theory! I haven’t read The Time Traveler’s Wife– I’ve never really been much of a romantic myself. I wonder what I’d think of it. That’s a really perspective observation you have, however. It’s good to know yourself (and particularly your book tastes)– are you even remotely interested in re-reading it and seeing if your opinions have changed?

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea May 3, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Love, love, love this review! Would I read this? Probably not, but you nailed with the fact that sometimes it is just the right time for a book. I am reading a billion different things right now and finding my books are ever changing with my mood. It is always so wonderful when we find that one that suits it so perfectly! I also love that you noted how sometimes the necessary elements of a retelling can be a struggle because they don’t sit well with realism. Hence how her family handled her and the charges. This was awesome to read 🙂

    • Jackie B May 5, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks, Danielle! It’s always interesting to see how a retelling will change the original story, but it isn’t always the right thing to do.

      Yeah, this is not a book I think I’d ever recommend to you. Too much fluffy YA romance for you! But it scratched an itch I didn’t realize I needed scratching. 🙂 I’ve gotten more and more into reading based on my mood lately. The only downside to this is that I don’t challenge myself through reading as often. Oh well!

      • Books, Vertigo and Tea May 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm

        I have been doing nothing but mood reading, but I am enjoying just going with the flow for a bit 😉 It is honestly nice to have a break from ARCs and requests!

        • Jackie B May 8, 2017 at 12:49 pm

          Exactly! But, sometimes, well, we need to crack down. I was looking at my NetGalley list this weekend…. O_o Not good.

          • Books, Vertigo and Tea May 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm

            I have one title I have not reviewed on NetGalley and still do not care to read it right now (hope they don’t see this haha).

            • Jackie B May 10, 2017 at 10:05 am

              Only ONE? I am so jealous. I have… 13… O_o I really need to focus on reading my ARCs. #Slacker

          • Books, Vertigo and Tea May 12, 2017 at 5:28 pm

            I guess I feel bad about mine because I just don’t want to read it haha. I am a bad reviewer 😛

  • theorangutanlibrarian May 3, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I one hundred percent agree with you about books changing with your experiences- some books have come to me at just the right time in my life, and others have fallen flat for me cos it wasn’t the right time for them. Anyway, this sounds like a great book and I’m glad it came at the right time for you. Great review!

    • Jackie B May 5, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Thanks! Can you name any specific books you felt hit you at the right time and why? I’m just curious. 🙂

      • theorangutanlibrarian May 6, 2017 at 9:20 pm

        Oh yes, absolutely- I’d say Memoirs of a Geisha just really struck a chord with me when I read it. Emma and Persuasion both also came at the exact right time for me too. And I deliberately picked up Man’s Search for Meaning after uni and it was perfect. Also We Were Liars, The Idiot and Tulip Touch- basically loads of books!! How about you- what other books hit you at the right time?

        • Jackie B May 8, 2017 at 2:44 pm

          Wow! I’m really impressed that so many books come to mind so easily for you to list! I remember being blown away when I read Memoirs of a Geisha the first time. Hm, other books for me? Definitely Alanna: The First Adventure– I had just started to mature out of my awkward pre-teen phase when I found it, and the whole Song of the Lioness series really touched me and inspired me. Also: Holes, The Alchemist, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, The Eye of the World, and The Handmaids Tale. So many amazing books!

          • theorangutanlibrarian May 10, 2017 at 3:58 pm

            Ahh cool!! I’m glad Memoirs blew you away too 🙂 I think I actually had the same experience with Holes- funnily enough! And I felt the same way about Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series 😀 Awesome!!

  • Grab the Lapels May 4, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    I can’t remember if I recommended this book to you before or not, but have you heard of the Cinderella retelling called Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell?

    • Jackie B May 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      I have, but not from you! Honestly, I’m a bit hesitant about it. I learned about it when I was still reading The Lunar Chronicles, and those books left me with a HUGE book hangover. At this point, I’m definitely withdrawn enough from perhaps read it? Have you read it? If so, what do you think?

      Sometimes, I really do just want to read a good retelling. 🙂

      • Grab the Lapels May 6, 2017 at 2:43 pm

        I haven’t read it yet, but I know about the book because I actually went to grad school with Betsy Cornwell at the University of Notre Dame. We were in the MFA fiction writing program there. I bought the book. Actually, I pre-ordered it! I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet. She’s also written a Robin Hood retelling.

        • Jackie B May 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm

          Haha– you’re not alone. I’ve pre-ordered books and not read them before, too. O_o There is a reason my blog is named after Tsundoku! Well, we will both have to check out her works at some point then. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Robin Hood retelling, either!

          • Grab the Lapels May 8, 2017 at 1:44 pm

            The Robin Hood retelling is due out later this year, I believe. There’s also one scheduled for 2018. I’ve bought…let’s see….probably 5 books on pre-order that I haven’t read yet! One that I really do plan to read as soon as I get it is Gabourey Sidibe’s This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare. Comes out May 15th.

            • Jackie B May 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm

              I haven’t heard of Gabourey Sidibe or her memoir– but after looking it up, it sounds great! I hope that you really enjoy it; I look forward to your review.

          • Grab the Lapels May 8, 2017 at 9:35 pm

            Thanks! Did you ever see the movie Precious? Or, do you like American Horror Story? She’s in both of those.

            • Jackie B May 10, 2017 at 10:06 am

              Nope– I don’t really watch TV or film. I get bored? I’m strange, I know. Either way, I’ll check out her book for sure. It sounds really insightful.

  • LizScanlon May 5, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Hmm… mood is definitely a big factor to either making or breaking a reading experience, I think. This book does sound fantastic but for some reason I don’t ever ‘want’ to read retellings… and I’m probably missing out XD I seem to have some mental block… I know they’re different in ways to the original but still.. I find it so odd that I think this way…

    • Jackie B May 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      Pft, I totally get never being in the mood for a genre! For me, it’s classics. I am never in the mood to pick up a classic novel, but once I do I often enjoy it. To each their own! In my case, I think my block comes from high school when English teachers told me how to interpret literature. But, who knows!

      There are some great fun retellings. I think you might enjoy The Lunar Chronicles. They are sci-fi steampunk retellings of fairy tales which build upon each other and develops a kick ass diverse cast of powerful women. Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Rapunzel. It’s YA, but a ton of fun. If you ever get the itch. 😉

  • KrystiYAandWine May 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    This DEFINITELY sounds like a book I need to read. And I totally understand the reading a book at the right moment thing. When that happens, it’s like magic. Great review! You’ve got me sold on this one. 🙂

    • Jackie B May 6, 2017 at 2:38 pm

      I think you’d really enjoy it, Krysti! It’s a really fun retelling with some wonderful characters. It was so great watching them grow. <3

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom May 7, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, BUT I’m happy you enjoyed it and read it at the right time. I’ve often wondered if I’ve rated books higher or lower based on when I read them… Is this book as good (or bad) as I thought it was, or was it just the right (or wrong) time? At the end of the day we will never know for sure.

    • Jackie B May 8, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      That is so true. I do like to re-read books from my childhood as an adult. Right now, it’s about 50/50 as to whether the story held up for me. Rosy glasses must be considered, however. But, we will never know.

  • morethangeekylove May 7, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    After reading your review I am intrigued to read this book. Even though I have not read any retelling book so far, so I do not know how I feel about them, at least not yet.

    On the other hand I can totally agree with reading a book at the right time. Personally I have experienced it and I know it can turn out either very helpful or very negative. This is way I avoid certain type of books at a certain period when I feel like I need to concentrate on more positive things in life.

    As for the last question this is something I have never thought about and it is really giving me a hard time to even think about such a book hmmm I will update you when I come up with an answer 🙂

    Great as always!!

    • Jackie B May 8, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Oooh, if you haven’t read any retellings, I recommend The Lunar Chronicles. They are steampunk sci-fi retellings which build upon each other. The first book, Cinder, is about Cinderella. In the second book, Scarlet, we meet Little Red Riding Hood and she joins the gang. Eventually, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White are all kicking butt together. They are adorable and addicting.

      I look forward to hearing what books struck a chord with you due to when you read it originally. 🙂

  • cw @ readthinkponder May 8, 2017 at 3:54 am

    I’ve never heard of this book, but thank you for reviewing it! Your review was so insightful – I might give this a go sometime.
    To answer your question, I’m definitely a mood reader. Having a TBR is a bit tough for me (especially with the #AsianLitBingo challenge!) but thankfully all the books I’ve got lined up are books I am dying to read. I do think reading books at the wrong time can break the experience. For me, that seems to be the case with books that require more emotional investment or ‘fun’ books.

    • Jackie B May 8, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks, CW! Yes– having a short-term TBR is about all I can handle, so I can relate. Your #AsianLitBingo TBR sounds *awesome*. I can’t wait to read all your reviews!

      Are there any books which come to mind you believe you read at the “wrong” time?

  • AvalinahsBooks May 9, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Cute, didn’t think this was a retelling! Saw a photo of this book like aaaaages ago on Twitter, in print – and it was so gorgeous. Must have been like the first proof print, cause it was like a month or two ago. Looks stunning in print. Also sounds like it’s a cute book 🙂 I know what you mean about “the right time”. Sometimes you just need something light and adorable.
    Also, I have to recommend something, I just finished it last night. Middle grade, but SO diverse and lovely! You can still grab it on NG if you like the blurb:
    It was a bit bumbly, but probably THE MOST DIVERSE book I’ve ever read. Like maybe even a little too diverse xD but incredibly cute and adorable and just… d’awwww. I totally recommend it even before I post the review, cause the ARCs still available 🙂

    • Jackie B May 10, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      The cover *certainly* drew my eye. When it comes to NetGalley, I almost exclusively find new books through recommendations from other bloggers (such as yourself– darn you for inspiring me and growing my TBR. Again!) and how pretty the covers are. I don’t judge a book by its over often, but when I do…. 😉

  • Marie May 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Such a lovely review! I haven’t read this book yet but I heard a lot of good things about it, plus, that cover is stunning 🙂 I agree with you that sometimes we have to be in a right mood to read certain kinds of books and some books can definitely have a bigger impact on us depending on when we read them 🙂

    • Jackie B May 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      I’m glad you’ve been hearing good things about it. That makes me happy! I love it when a NetGalley book is successful.

      Are there any books you can think of which had a bigger impact on you due to your mood or the timing of when you read it?

      • Marie May 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm

        Hm, the only book I can think of right now is Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith. It’s a solid 4 stars for me normally, but due to the theme of the book overall, it strongly echoes with me and I cried and I rated it 5 stars because, well, feelings ahah 🙂

        • Jackie B May 15, 2017 at 4:01 pm

          Feelings! Feelings always get me in the end, too. Particularly if I’m feeling, well, extra-moody. I haven’t heard of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between– I’ll definitely have to check it out. Thanks!

  • Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity May 14, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    I’m glad you were able to read this at the right time, Jackie! I think timing can be important, especially in terms of mood reading. Sometimes I have to force myself to read a book because I’m behind on review copies, and most of the time that never ends well :/

    Some of the things you mentioned in this review would get to me if I read this book. I need realism in contemporary books, even if they are retellings! Otherwise I just end up side-eyeing the book the entire time, haha. And crappy adult characters really get to me, as well.

    I’m glad you were able to end up really enjoying it, though!

    • Jackie B May 15, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Ugh– at least you are capable for forcing yourself to read review copies. I’m *so bad* at that. When I’m late, I just let the lateness increase because I’m still not into the book from a mood perspective. Oops! I should work harder to push myself through that, for sure!

  • Jasmine May 15, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I love that last quote a lot! haha.. I’m guessing this book has some humor? I don’t like when men can’t step up and be the bigger person.. Great review Jackie!

    • Jackie B May 15, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      This book definitely had some humor– most particularly of the variety you’d expect from sassy, sarcastic high school girls. It really hit the spot for me. 🙂 Thanks for commenting, Jasmine!

      • Jasmine May 16, 2017 at 8:25 am

        You’re welcome. Sassy sarcastic characters are becoming my favorites to read. 🙂

  • Adoptabookaus June 7, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I didn’t even realise this was a cinderella retelling until I saw others review it as that… I can see how it was Cinderella ish I mean sure her step Mom and sister were a little distant and harsh but I just figured it was from a teenage perspective XD I enjoyed this book but felt it was pretty unrealistic at times too, I liked the MC and the humor, and the sister relationship growth, the love interest was cute too but it just didn’t stand out for me. That’s probably my fault to as I read to many contemporaries they can all just mush together in my mind unless they’re really unique.

    • Jackie B June 21, 2017 at 9:29 am

      I wouldn’t say that’s *your* fault. I think it’s a rut a lot of contemporary books have fallen into, across all reading levels. All these contemporary books start to feel similar after a while, sadly. It’s like contemporary fiction is the new pop-fic, instead of romance. Everyone is writing them and they appeal to a wide audience. But after a while… you’re right, few of them stand out as unique.

      If the character development, specifically around Tatum’s relationships, hadn’t been so strong, I probably would have given this a 3-star. I love sisterly relationships. I wish we saw more positive family relationships in YA, honestly.

      • Adoptabookaus June 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm

        They do don’t they?! Contemporary is very much my fluff books when I cant be bothered reading a heavy sci fi or fantasy, very pop fic and easy to binge. Some of the new more diverse contemporary I’ve read this year has made me a bit jaded to books like this though because now I know how many better stories there are that I can be reading instead xD

        Positive family and friend relationships is my favourite in YA but yep sadly the parents are always missing or just uncaring, which I understand because plot BUT I still love the few books I have read that have great family bonds 😀

        • Jackie B June 30, 2017 at 2:31 am

          Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is the only contemporary book I can really come up with which has positive parental relationships- and for both boys! It’s awesome. If you find any great contemporaries, please send the recommendations my way!

  • Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads October 15, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Such a wonderful review!! I’ve only just started this, but your review makes me that much more excited to get into it. I hope I end up enjoying it as much as you did 🙂

    • Jackie B October 17, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked my review! I hope you enjoy the book as well. I’m looking forward to your eventual review, too.

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