Friday, August 12, 2016

Review - The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda

Melanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can’t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated façade of her life. Will and his wife are fine—as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class).

Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it’s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple’s second act together—empty nesting—might possibly be the end.


My Thoughts 
This by far is one of my favorite books of 2016.  The depth to each character is sublime and the twists and turns that make up their lives will have you wondering what will happen next.  You will quickly learn that lives aren't always what they appear and in most cases you do not want to emulate the person that looks to have the perfect life on the outside.  On the inside they are just as screwed up in one way or another as the average person next to them.
Let me give a quick rundown of this cast:

Melanie: (mother to Seth and Dane; wife to Keith) she is having a hard time adjusting after their move from OH to California, she is trying to keep up a persona that may break her in the end

Keith: (father to Seth and Dane; husband to Melanie) he is busy trying to keep his family in tact and hoping to help his wife survive the tremendous change ahead 

Seth and Dane (children to Melanie and Keith) Seth is the older son and their golden child who can do no wrong, Dane is the younger son who has never liked school, it feels like prison to him and he can't wait to follow his dreams to a music career

Sarah (mother to Ashley; wife to Jud) she has lost her identity to her husband since marriage - physically and mentally, she has always been the perfect mom doing everything for her princess but has noticed an ever increasing disconnect with her husband, what will happen when Ashlet leaves for school?

Jud (father to Ashley; husband to Sarah) his life revolves around his beloved plastic surgery business, he has recreated his wife into his ideal mate and has been living a secret on the side, will their marriage survive?

Ashley (daughter to Sarah and Jud) she is the "perfect" daughter, great at everything, accepted into Harvard - but wants to defy her dad and attend school at Stanford; she takes on a relationship just to upset her father

Carol (mother to Marni and Paper; wife to Will) she is your typical OCD control freak; she needs to micro manage everyone's schedule down to the minute; she is going to drive her family crazy, will they last?

Will (father to Marni and Paper; husband to Carol) he is on a path of destruction from day one; he was already found cheating in the past and lets just say things haven't changed, will he get it together or will he go insane under the pressure of what he has done?

Marni and Piper (children to Carol and Will) we don't hear much from piper through out the story, marni on the other hand finds out bits and pieces of her life that she wished she never heard, is her family falling apart at the seams or will they pull through?

Lauren (mother to Kylie; wife to Davis) oh what a tangled web she has woven, what was she thinking, did she make a mistake in married David who is many years older than her or was this the best decision she ever made?

David (father to Kylie; husband to Lauren) we don't have much contact with David until the end, he keeps very involved with his car dealership and this may be a major reason as to why his family is falling apart day by day

Kylie (child to David and Lauren) she has found out secrets that may ruin her family forever, can they ever recover from what is to come?

Zoe (mother to Collin) she is in and out of the story, trying to move on with her life as a single mom, dating and trying to find someone that will complete their family 

Collin (son to Zoe) he seems to have the life that every guy dreams of in high school- avid sports enthusiast, great grades, colleges knocking down his doors and then one day his fate is sealed when he makes the worse decision imaginable.  What will happen to him?  Will he go away forever or will he get lucky?

As you can see from above there are over two handfuls of characters involved but you will never get confused due to the superb writing of Kaira!  

Sit back and enjoy this mess of a life (for all) from beginning to end, you will not be able to turn away and will be reading hours into the evening!

Drink Selection
Due to the lies and deception - I decided a dirty martini was in order!  One or two may be key in order to enjoy this wild and crazy ride that is The Goodbye Year.

Rating 
The Goodbye Year is 5 wine glasses hands down, grab your copy today and tell me what you think!