During one of many Kindle book sales Blink YA has hosted over the past year, I bought It Started With Goodbye, eager to read a contemporary Cinderella retelling. While there were a couple aspects I didn’t like, I think teens craving a book with a nod to teen movies like the A Cinderella Story series will enjoy it.
What I Liked:
Focus Shift from Classic Cinderella Cliche
The most unique aspect about this retelling is that it focuses more on our “Cinderella”, Tatum, reexamining her relationship with her stepmother and stepsister. This twist offers a breath of fresh air from the usual, often overused romance-based Cinderella plot.
While a small dash of romance is still included, the book is more family-centered, which I feel teen girls can benefit from reading.
My favorite characters from this novel are Abby (a friend of Tatum’s), and Tilly (Tatum’s step-sister). Both of these characters have likeable personalities, and I’m excited that June has written Tilly her own book as well.
What I Disliked:
Unrealistic and Predictable Scenes
My main critique of this book is that some of the situations that happen seem unrealistic, while others are foreseen way before they occur. To avoid spoilers, I won’t mention the actual scenes; however, I’ll explain that some of the predictability derives from the fact that this is a retelling. Nevertheless, it still feels like Tatum is slow to figure out things for herself, while the reader is waiting for her to catch up.
It’s not often that I totally dislike a main character, and that’s not the case here. There were times when I liked Tatum, but half the time I found her whole “the world is so against me” mindset annoying. Even when she faced trials in the book, they weren’t as bad as she made them out to be. Her hardships are tame compared to other Cinderella retellings.
All that being said, I think teens can relate to her more than I, someone 10+ years older than the target audience, did.
Fans of clean, contemporary retellings should definitely give It Started With Goodbye a chance. Though this read was just okay to me, I plan on giving the other books in the series a chance.
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
What contemporary fairytale retellings do you recommend? Drop some titles I should check out in the comments!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.
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