Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard – Book Review

Title: Goodbye Perfect

Author: Sara Barnard

Genre/Themes: Young Adult Contemporary, Child Grooming, Teacher Student Relationship, Predatory Paedophile, Fostering, Adoption

Blurb from Goodreads

When I was wild, you were steady . . .
Now you are wild – what am I?

Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.

Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.

As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.

My Review

Goodbye Perfect is the third Sara Barnard book I’ve read in as many days. Yes I’ve been having a UK YA binge right now… but this book… ooof… I think it’s put paid to that YA binge.


The premise is that a model 15 year old student named Bonnie *runs away* with her thirty something year old teacher and the book deals with the aftermath of that from the perspective of her bestie Eden.

Eden is sixteen years old and hella brainless.


Because after Bonnie does the disappearing act she contacts Eden and Eden doesn’t think to immediately tell her parents or Bonnie’s parents or you know THE POLICE because YOU CAN’T GRASS ON YOUR BESTIE EVEN THOUGH SHE HAS CLEARLY BEEN GROOMED BY A PREDATORY ADULT MALE!

So brainless right. BEYOND BRAINLESS!

But I was all okay Éimhear… chill for a minute. You don’t need to like this main character. You can think she’s a world class grade A moron and the book can still have something interesting to say….


Well not at least until the very end when in the words of the almighty JoJo “you know it’s just too little too late”.

Because okay… we were inside Eden’s head. The book is her PoV. Her thoughts…. but no matter how hard I tried I could not for the life of me understand her as a character. Well not until the very end at least.

Honestly this book… faAAAAAAAr too long. It could have been much more effective as a novella which would have sped up the plot and gotten the reader to the best segment of the novel before they had lost the will to live.

THIS BOOK MADE ME FLING IT ACROSS THE ROOM IN FRUSTRATION… this was by about half way through. And I just said to myself Éimhear. Read it so you can rant and rate this trainwreck accordingly and be done with it.


I actually got madder because FINALLY we were getting a good story.
Finally Eden’s confusion and misplaced loyalty was making sense and all I could think was why only now Sara Barnard?? This book could have been marvellous but for two thirds of it it was a giant stubborn turd!

The good point was when Eden’s relationship with older sister Valerie took centre stage. You see Eden was adopted at a fairly older age. I can’t recall exactly but maybe 9 years old-ish. So before that she had been bounced around from foster home to foster home with younger sister Daisy due to her biological mother’s neglect of them [addiction problems]. And this obviously had an impact on Eden. While she loved her adoptive parents she just never connected with Valerie who is their biological child… so there was great drama and tension between them. All Eden’s fault btw, Valerie was always trying to be there for Eden. And this whole dynamic between the sisters was just so interesting to read about and again exemplifies why Barnard is capable of writing truly compelling female relationships be they friendship or sisterly. It’s really just a shame it took so long to get there!

And while I know some readers didn’t particularly like the very end of the book I feel it struck the perfect tone between resolution and unknown… it’s just such a shame that the majority of the book fell so short of that quality.

Overall I’m disappointed as this book showed glimmers of why I adored the three other novels I’ve read by Barnard (Beautiful Broken Things, Fierce Fragile Hearts, A Quiet Kind of Thunder) but there just wasn’t enough here for me to recommend this.


There’s no coming back from that.

Other Works by Sara Barnard I’ve Reviewed

My Socials

8 thoughts on “Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard – Book Review

  1. HAHAHA I think the only thing I need to feel better about our world climate is to read one of your ranting reviews because THIS IS PERFECTION! Thank you for the laughter ❤ Hahaha oh this book sounds like a hot hot mess 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LMAOOOO You are welcome Dini! Always happy to provide bookish rants for your reading pleasure 😂😂😂😂😂 and omg….hot mess and then some! Utter trainwreck which is super frustrating considering this author is capable of such brilliance!


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