Summary and book reviews of Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

Goodbye Stranger

by Rebecca Stead

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead X
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2015, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2017, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Winner of the 2015 BookBrowse Award for Best Young Adult Novel

This brilliant novel by Newbery Medal winner Rebecca Stead explores multiple perspectives on the bonds and limits of friendship.

Bridge is an accident survivor who's wondering why she's still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody's games - or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?

This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend? 

On Valentine's Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

Each memorable character navigates the challenges of love and change in this captivating novel.

Prologue

When she was eight years old, Bridget Barsamian woke up in a hospital, where a doctor told her she shouldn't be alive. It's possible that he was complimenting her heart's determination to keep pumping when half her blood was still uptown on 114th Street, but more likely he was scolding her for roller-skating into traffic the way she had.

Despite what it looked like, she had been paying attention—she saw the red light ahead, and the cars. She merely failed to realize how quickly she was approaching them. Her skates had a way of making her feel powerful and relaxed, and it was easy to lose track of her speed.

When she was eight, Bridget loved two things: Charlie Chaplin and VW Bugs. She practiced her Chaplin moves whenever she could—his funny duck walk and the casually choppy way he zoomed around on his skates, arms straight down, legs swinging.

Her interest in Volkswagen Bugs was less aesthetic. Whenever she saw one, she shouted, "bug-buggy, ZOO-...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image

    BookBrowse Awards
    2015

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Stead also writes convincingly from the points of view of both male and female characters – Bridge and Sherm share a vulnerability, introspection, and kindness that will win over all kinds of readers. Goodbye Stranger is a winsome, at times outright funny, book that also offers serious messages about loyalty, independence, and the preciousness of friendships new and old.   (Reviewed by Norah Piehl).

Full Review (559 words).

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.

Media Reviews

The New York Times Book Review

This novel not only sensitively explores togetherness, aloneness, betrayal and love, it also acknowledges something crucial to the business of growing up.

VOYA

Though the complex narrative threads may be challenging for some to navigate, this eloquent story of friendship, first love, and identity will resonate powerfully with readers.

Children's Literature

Newbery winner Stead masterfully avoids all the pitfalls common in tales of friendships between middle school girls . . . This examination of love, loyalty, and friendship explores the differences between each girl’s self-perception and what the world—parents, teachers, and classmates—know of them. Clearly aimed at middle school readers.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This memorable story about female friendships, silly bets, different kinds of love, and bad decisions is authentic in detail and emotion - another Stead hallmark.

Booklist

Starred Review. Winsome, bighearted, and altogether rewarding.

School Library Journal

Starred Review. Stead's writing [is]… filled with humor, delightful coincidences… An immensely satisfying addition for Stead's many fans.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review.... [Stead] captures the stomach-churning moments of a misstep or an unplanned betrayal and reworks these events with grace, humor, and polish into possibilities for kindness and redemption. Superb.

The Horn Book

Starred Review.The handing-down of advice and wisdom from older girls and women is a welcome theme throughout the book and far too rare in female coming-of-age stories; it's just one of many reasons this astonishingly profound novel is not your average middle-school friendship tale.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Young Adult Literature Set in the Big Apple

A lot of books for children and young adults are set in suburbia - but some truly memorable examples of the genre are set in cities, especially (like Goodbye Stranger) in Manhattan. Here are just a handful of the many classic and contemporary novels for young people set in the Big Apple. Whether your family already lives there or you just have plans to visit New York, you can spend whole days tracing the fictional footsteps of these memorable characters. If you decide to do just that, pick up a copy of Leonard Marcus's Storied City from your library (sadly, it's out of print) - it's a series of walking tours of the city that point out memorable locales from picture books and children's novels.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerFrom the Mixed-Up Files ...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Goodbye Stranger, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...
  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Strangers in Budapest
    by Jessica Keener

    Strong characters and a riveting plot combine in this psychological thriller set in Budapest.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.