Tatum’s summer got off to a rocky start. She happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when her best friend’s loser boyfriend decided to steal from a department store and then use her as the getaway car. Unfortunately for Tatum, the police and her parents don’t think she was just being a not-so innocent bystander is forgivable, so she is sentenced to a summer of community service, a $500 fine, and house arrest as deemed fit by her parents. To make matters worse, her BFF is made at her for ratting them out and her father has to go out of the country for work leaving her with her super controlling stepmonster and evil golden child stepsister for the entire summer. The only ally she seems to have is her Golden Girls loving her step-grandmother, Blanche, who is visiting for the summer to help assist with Tatum’s punishment. Thankfully the summer turns out to not be as bleak as it seemed at first once she realizes an acquaintance from her school is doing community service with her. Tatum also launches a graphic design business since she has so much free time on her hands and ends up emailing with a client who turns out to be something a little more special. Tatum does a lot of growing up in her solitude with a little help from Blanche and her new friends. By the end of the summer, she is not the same girl she was at the beginning and has a new appreciation for herself, her friends, and her family.
Let me preface this review by saying that I immediately wanted to read this book because Tatum is one of my absolute favorite names. Once I saw that was the MC’s name, I knew I had to have this book. I didn’t realize until I started reading that It Started With Goodbye is a modern day spin on Cinderella. It works perfectly and ends up being just familiar enough with the fairy tale without feeling cheesy or forced.
This is very much a character driven story, which are my favorite kind. Tatum is a great MC and does a full character arc by the end. I was able to relate to her easily and remember feeling similar things when I was 16. Tatum’s friends are realistic and really feel like these could be actual people.
There is so much diversity in the characters, and it made the book so unique from anything I’ve ever read. Tatum’s stepmom and step-grandmother are immigrants from Chile, her stepsister is half Chilean/half white, and SK is half Irish/half Kenyan and the son of immigrants. The author did a great job of incorporating the heritage of each of the characters by using their language, names, and food from their home countries. I really enjoyed learning about the characters and seeing how their backgrounds influence them as people. The characters also have a wide variety of interests- dance, graphic design, art, music, and journalism, to name a few. It was refreshing to be able to relate with so many varying hobbies.
Overall I am super happy with this book. If you love a good contemporary like I do and love authors similar to Kasie West, then you need to add this book to your TBR immediately. You will not be disappointed!
*Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book for review!