From the introduction, ‘Goodbye Stranger’ catches the reader. The thought of our storyteller, Bridge, surviving a near- fatal traffic accident, living with the comment that she ‘survived for a reason’ is curious. Then we meet her again, when she is older and has taken to wearing cat ears each day, and is caught in a pinky-promise-never-fight-best friend triangle with two other girls, with vastly different directions and impulses.
In the background, we share a frenzied day in the life of an anonymous girl, known to Bridge, forced to skip school, after making a decision forced by friendships, which she then regrets.
This is like ‘Friends’ for young adult readers, but without the sophistication and overconfidence. We feel for each of the characters, from Em, grown too fast too young, Sherm, honourable and cautious, despite his anger with his absent grandfather, and Jamie, Bridge’s older brother, caught up in a neighbour’s ever more ridiculous dares.
I would have loved reading this book as a younger reader, from 12 years, and sought other titles by this hugely popular and respected American author. I love it as a Bookwagon director, and am busy reading other titles to share in our shop.