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Goodbye Stranger
Cover of Goodbye Stranger
Goodbye Stranger
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This brilliant, New York Times bestselling novel from the author of the Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me explores multiple perspectives on the bonds and limits of friendship. Long ago, best...
This brilliant, New York Times bestselling novel from the author of the Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me explores multiple perspectives on the bonds and limits of friendship. Long ago, best...
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  • This brilliant, New York Times bestselling novel from the author of the Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me explores multiple perspectives on the bonds and limits of friendship.

    Long ago, best friends Bridge, Emily, and Tab made a pact: no fighting. But it's the start of seventh grade, and everything is changing. Emily's new curves are attracting attention, and Tab is suddenly a member of the Human Rights Club. And then there's Bridge. She's started wearing cat ears and is the only one who's still tempted to draw funny cartoons on her homework.

    It's also the beginning of seventh grade for Sherm Russo. He wonders: what does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?

    By the time Valentine's Day approaches, the girls have begun to question the bonds—and the limits—of friendship. Can they grow up without growing apart?

    "Sensitively explores togetherness, aloneness, betrayal and love." —The New York Times

    A Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction
    Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, NPR, and more!

Excerpts-

  • From the cover ONE

    The Cat Ears

    Bridge started wearing the cat ears in September, on the third Monday of seventh grade.

    The cat ears were black, on a black headband. Not exactly the color of her hair, but close. Checking her reflection in the back of her cereal spoon, she thought they looked surprisingly natural.

    On the table in front of her was a wrinkled sheet of homework. It wasn't homework yet, actually. Aside from her name, the paper was blank. She itched to draw a small, round Martian in the upper left-hand corner.

    Instead, she put down the spoon, picked up her pen, and wrote:

    What is love?

    This was her assignment: answer the question "What is love?"

    In full sentences.

    She looked at the empty blue lines on the page and tried to imagine them full of words.

    Love is __________.

    Her mom had once told her that love was a kind of music. One day, you could just . . . hear it.

    "Was it like that when you met Dad?" Bridge had asked. "Like hearing music for the first time?"

    "Oh, I heard the music before that," her mom had said. "And I danced with a few people before I met Daddy. But when I found him, I knew I had a dance partner for life."

    But Bridge couldn't write that. And anyway, her mom was a cellist. Everything was about music to her.

    Bridge squeezed her eyes closed until she saw glittery things floating in the dark. Then she started writing, quickly.

    Love is when you like someone so much that you can't just call it "like," so you have to call it "love."

    It was only one sentence, but she was out of time.



    Bridge had noticed the cat ears earlier that morning, on the shelf above her desk, where they'd been sitting since the previous Halloween. They felt strange at first, and made the sides of her head throb a tiny bit when she chewed her cereal, but as she walked toward school, the ears became a comforting presence. When she was small, her father would sometimes rest his hand on her head as they went down the street. It was a little bit like that.

    Bridge stopped just outside the front doors of her school, slipped her phone out of her pocket, and texted her mom:

    At school.

    XOXO, her mom texted back.

    Bridge's mother was on an Amtrak train, coming home from a performance in Boston with her string quartet. Bridge's father, who owned a coffee place a few blocks from their apartment, had to be at the store by seven a.m. And her brother, Jamie, left early for high school. His subway ride was almost an hour long.

    So there had been no one at home that morning to make her think twice about the cat ears. Not that anyone in her family was the type to try to stop her from wearing them in the first place. And not that she was the type to be stopped.



    Tabitha was next to Bridge's locker, waiting. "Hurry up, the bell's about to ring."

    "Okay." Bridge faced her locker and puckered up. "One, two . . ." She leaned in and kissed the skinny metal door.

    "Nice one. You can stop doing that anytime, you know."

    Bridge spun her lock and jerked the door open. "Not until the end of the month." Seventh grade was the year they finally got to have lockers, and Bridge swore she was going to kiss hers every day until the end of September.

    "You have ears," Tab said. "Extra ones, I mean."

    "Yeah." Bridge put both hands up and touched the rounded tips of her cat ears. "Soft."

    "They're sweet. You gonna wear them all day?"

    "Maybe." Madame Lawrence might make her take them off, she knew. But Bridge didn't have French on Mondays.

    If she had French on Mondays, life would really...

About the Author-

  • REBECCA STEAD is the author of When You Reach Me, which was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Newbery Medal and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Fiction, and Liar & Spy, which was also a New York Times bestseller, won the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction, and was on multiple state master lists and best of the year lists. Her most recent book, Goodbye Stranger, was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction and a New York Times bestseller. She is also the author of First Light, which was nominated for many state awards. She lives in New York City with her family. Visit her online at rebeccasteadbooks.com.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine This story, told from multiple points of view, translates beautifully to audio. Kimberly Farr provides the main narration from the point of view of middle schooler Bridge, while Meera Simhan performs chapters in the second person that follow an unnamed high schooler who is skipping school on Valentine's Day and Kirby Heyborne reads letters that Bridge's new friend, Sherm, writes to his estranged grandfather. Farr captures Bridge's intelligence but also her na•veté as she watches her friends take risks she doesn't quite understand and ponders her own changing feelings for Sherm. Simhan adds sharpness and worldliness to the Valentine's Day chapters while Heyborne focuses on Sherm's steadiness along with his vulnerability and hurt. The whole is an absorbing exploration of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness that sounds exactly like middle school. A.F. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • AudioFile Magazine This story, told from multiple points of view, translates beautifully to audio. Kimberly Farr provides the main narration from the point of view of middle schooler Bridge, while Meera Simhan performs chapters in the second person that follow an unnamed high schooler who is skipping school on Valentine's Day and Kirby Heyborne reads letters that Bridge's new friend, Sherm, writes to his estranged grandfather. Farr captures Bridge's intelligence but also her na•veté as she watches her friends take risks she doesn't quite understand and ponders her own changing feelings for Sherm. Simhan adds sharpness and worldliness to the Valentine's Day chapters while Heyborne focuses on Sherm's steadiness along with his vulnerability and hurt. The whole is an absorbing exploration of friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness that sounds exactly like middle school. A.F. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 26, 2015
    Three tween girls navigate the perils of junior high, boys, and texting, in this friendship novel from Newbery Medal–winning Stead. Veteran audiobook narrator Farr reads the bulk of the novel from the perspective of Bridge, one of the three BFFs. It’s not clear why she has been cast here playing 23-year-olds, since her voice
    is clearly more suited to play their mothers. Even though she captures the sensitivity and humor of junior high, she’s fundamentally misplaced. The audio production also weaves in strong supporting performances by voice actor Heyborne, who reads the letters written by Sherm, Bridge’s friend turned love interest, and voice actor Simhan, who comes in and out of the story as a slightly older character whose identity is not revealed until the final scenes. Ages 10–up. A Random/Lamb hardcover.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 11, 2015
    Bridget Barsamian accidentally skated into traffic at age eight, and this brush with death has made her an uncommonly introspective seventh-grader. A tight triumvirate, Bridge and her friends Tab and Em have sworn upon a Twinkie never to fight, but now Em’s curves are attracting boy interest (and a request for a risqué photo), while Tab’s attentions are turning toward feminism and social justice. Meanwhile, Bridge has a new friend, Sherm; his share of the story unspools in letters to his estranged grandfather, who left Sherm’s beloved Nonna after 50 years of marriage. Then there is an unnamed high school–age character, whose second-person chapters take place on Valentine’s Day, months in the future. Keeping readers off-balance is a Stead hallmark, but it doesn’t work quite as successfully here as it did in When You Reach Me and Liar and Spy, perhaps because the mystery narrator and the people she interacts with aren’t as fleshed out as everyone else. That said, this memorable story about female friendships, silly bets, different kinds of love, and bad decisions is authentic in detail and emotion—another Stead hallmark. Ages 10–up. Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency.

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