Genre: New Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: April 7, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Page Count: 243
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Amazon ~ Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads
Goodreads Synopsis: Amy has a secret: no one’s ever held her hand. She doesn’t even know how to hug. Everyone thinks she’s smart, but straight A's are way easier than making friends. Then she meets Dane, a golden-haired surfer whose easy charm and hot touch teach her what she longs to know.
Dane lives for the salty breeze and a sweet wave, because that’s all he has. He’s been on the streets since he was fourteen. A drifter. Homeless. Then he meets Amy. Smart and accomplished, she’s everything he’s not. He wants to be the sort of man who deserves her.
Except that means facing down his past—and that past might very well swallow them both.
About the Author: Website ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
Amber Lin is an author of edgy and emotional erotic romance. RT Book Reviews gave her debut, Giving It Up, 4.5 stars and called it “truly extraordinary.”
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Disclaimer: I recieved this book from Xpresso Book Tours and this does not affect my honest review in any way.
My Intial Thoughts: I have a small confession to make: I facepalmed when I remembered I had How to Say Goodbye to read for this blog tour. It is a new adult, contemporary romance novel, and that is why I was facepalming. First of all, new adult has been a pretty tricky genre for me because it's about adults, but they're still young and naive. I had also never even heard of the term "New Adult" before I started blogging. There was also that whole "Contemporary Romance" aspect of the book. You are probably the one facepalming now because of how ridiculous I sound for actually signing up for this tour when I'm not the biggest fan of the genre. If you have been visiting my blog for a while now, you may know that I have an aversion, and something like a prejudice against books that have pure romance, without the world coming to an end, or an rating disorder thrown into the mix. I had honestly never read a contemporary romance novel that I fell in love with before. I am happy to say that this book was both an ice-breaker and an eye-opener to New Adult, Contemporary Romance novels and I am so happy that I read it.
Premise 6/10: The premise of this book sounds cliche, golden haired surfer boy meets antisocial, straight and narrow girl, they fall in love, and he brings her out of her shell. That is what the plot is about, but the characters are so rich, that no one really notices that their initial circumstances are cliche. And yes, Amy changes immensely throughout the story into someone....hang in there with me....can talk to people. I truly don't know how Amber Lim wrote this book, and convinced me to enjoy it so much, but I guess that's just the mark of a goody storyteller.
Characters 9/10: May I just say, the characters of How to Say Goodbye are some of the most developed, layered, and deep ones I have ever read. Amy's story, although very unlikely that no one has EVER touched her, is quite sad. In the beginning, Amy is withdrawn from the world, hostile even, and off putting to those who attempt to get close to her. Yet, she changes, and grows into this independent, strong, young woman. It's quite amazing to see her emerge from the wall she had built for herself, to see her develop opinions, learn that she has a voice, and can stand up for herself. All of this happens because of Dane.
Ah, Dane, I assume if I were to meet him that I would just melt to a puddle and be happy that I had. On the outside, he seemed like such an easy going (I hate this word, but I'm going to to use it) dude on summer vacation without a care in the world but the waves, and the occasional pretty girl to kiss. Yet, he is such a layered and deep person. For some reason, the term "tortured soul" -that would usually be used when describing an artist- comes to mind.
"He had a multitude of voices, each one offering a new form of cowardice"---40%
Romance 10/10: This is a romance novel, so if I didn't like the romance, it would be impossible for me to love the book.
Title 5/10: I'm just sitting here, writing my review, wondering why the book is called "How to Say Goodbye". I suppose I could credit the fact that Dane and Amy have a hard time saying goodbye because they both don't want to be left alone and goodbye signifies that they are leaving each other. In one chapter, Dane actually doesn't wake Amy up and say goodbye, but leaves her without a word, which sounds a lot like Just One Day by Gayle Forman, although Amy's reaction is a lot nicer than Lulu. Why this is true, I don't know because you would think Amy would react very badly since she has been left before, yet she automatically assumes that she will see Dane again.
Feels 8/10: I have a confession to make, I had a major feels attack when it came to this book. It wasn't just the general meaning of "the feels" because it was a wide array of emotion for aspects of the story. I felt empathetic (translation: I actually felt sorry for what could have come across as puny characters) towards both Amy and Dane. And of course, I felt the feels towards their relationship. The way that Amber Lin wrote their "scenes" made it feel just as kissing (and other bedroom activities) should. It was not overly graphic, explicit, or an erotica novel by any means. To describe it, I want you to think of being courted in the 1900s, back then, men actually paid women compliments, and even rejections were flowery. People skirted around taboo topics, and they made romance feel actually romantic unlike just saying, "Yeah, I hooked up with her." Amy and Dane's relationship felt real, and magical, as if I was kissing Dane instead of Amy (which I totally wouldn't mind if that happened).
Writing Style 6.75/10: While I do think that Lin could have written this book in 1st person, the way she ended up writing it in 3rd would have made it downright impossible unless Lin wrote the bk like Thirteen Reasons Why, with Jay's text in regular font, and Hannah's in italics. From one sentence to the next, she would jump from what was going on in the story, to what Amy thought, to what Dane thought. For example, when Amy and Dane were going out on some of their dates, Dane would start thinking, and then we would get a whole backstory about the last time he had been to their current location, or about how he could never tell Amy the truth...you get the picture. While the information was needed, I still thought it was a little confusing without some sort of transition, like italics would have provided.
Ending 5/10: I don't think Amber Lin should take offense to my rating for the ending because in the month of April, I haven't enjoyed endings. I don't know why except for the (lousy guess) fact that since I started blogging, my standards have become much higher, and endings are such a pivotal focal point for books with sequels, but especially with standalone novels. In a standalone novel, the end of the story is the end of the tracks, you have run out of things to look at in the time capsule of the character's lives.
Conclusion: This is a stunning novel that has proved to be a gateway into the New Adult/ Contemporary Romance genre that contains just the right amount of plot, character depth, and a romance that will leave you reeling.